Don’t Overlook the AltTox.org “Way Forward” Commentaries

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In the Spotlight

Don’t Overlook the AltTox.org “Way Forward” Commentaries

Published: December 6, 2007
Readers navigating AltTox.org for the first time will quickly realize that the bulk of the website is divided into two sections: the Toxicity Testing Resource Center (TTRC) and the Forums. The TTRC contains succinct summaries of information on topics pertinent to non-animal methods of testing, and the Forums are platforms for stakeholders to discuss these topics. However, a third pillar of AltTox.org is a series of “Way Forward” commentaries written by technical and policy experts. These essays are located at the end of many of the subsections within the TTRC, as well as listed together in The Way Forward.

Way Forward commentators were all asked to express their views on how best to accelerate progress on developing, validating, gaining regulatory acceptance for, and implementing non-animal testing methods in the topics under consideration. The resulting essays address specific fields of toxicity testing (e.g., neurotoxicity testing), types of non-animal technology applied to toxicity testing (e.g., (Quantitative) Structure-Activity Relationships), and relevant stakeholder policies or programs (e.g., the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods). Several essays are more broadly focused on overarching challenges and opportunities.

The commentators, whose brief biographical sketches follow their essays, were under no obligation to address all aspects of a topic; indeed, many chose to address a few salient aspects of the subject matter. Of course, their views do not necessarily reflect those of the AltTox Management Team.

More than 30 commentaries have been posted to date. For example, in one essay, Julia Fentem and Carl Westmoreland summarize Unilever Corporation’s impressive efforts to use the latest advances in biology to develop non-animal alternatives and use them in risk assessment. Individuals who missed Julia’s extraordinary plenary lecture at the 6th World Congress on Alternatives should not miss this commentary.

A number of commentators, including Fentem and Westmoreland, reference the recent National Research Council’s “vision for the 21st century.” Robert Kavlock, in his essay, notes that realizing this vision will take considerable financial investment. In order to marshal the necessary financial and other resources, commentator Andrew Rowan calls for a concerted effort akin to the Human Genome Project.