In addition to the 3Rs advancement efforts by US federal agencies and NICEATM/ICCVAM, several independent nonprofit and academic centers also operate with similar mandates. These include:
The Alternatives Research & Development Foundation (ARDF) was established by the American Anti-Vivisection Society in 1993 to provide an independent vehicle for its non-animal alternatives research funding program. The stated ARDF mission is to fund and promote the development, validation, and adoption of non-animal methods in biomedical research, product testing, and education. Since its inception, ARDF has provided more than $2.5 million dollars in direct funding of alternatives research.
Recent awards with potential relevance to regulatory toxicology include the following:
ARDF also funds educational activities that advance alternatives, sponsors scientific meetings such as the World Congresses on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, and supports the online alternatives resource sites, AltTox and Altweb. The William and Eleanor Cave Award is made by ARDF in recognition of scientists “who have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of alternatives.”
In addition to its funding programs, ARDF advocates for public policy that advances alternatives. For example, having funded successful development of a practical in vitro alternative to the animal-based ascites production of monoclonal antibodies, ARDF petitioned the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1997-98 for a ban on the ascites method. While NIH did not agree to the ban, it informed all NIH-funded research facilities that in vitro monoclonal antibody production was to be considered the default method, with justification required for the use of animals.
The American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology (ASCCT) was established as a non-profit scientific society in 2010 by the Institute for In Vitro Sciences and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to promote the development and use of nonanimal toxicological testing methods.
Through regular meetings and activities, the Society aspires to facilitate the development, acceptance, and routine use of cellular and computational methods by open dialog between industry, academic, advocacy, and regulatory scientists.
The first meeting of ASCCT, held in Bethesda, Maryland in September 2012, was summarized in a recent issue of the AltTox Digest.
The Human Toxicology Project Consortium (HTPC) is a group of stakeholder organizations that “share the objective of accelerating implementation of the vision in the National Research Council’s 2007 report on Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century
The paradigm shift described in the NRC report is taking root via several large-scale efforts, primarily in the US and Europe, for example: Tox21, a US government-sponsored collaboration between the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and several Framework Programme projects co-sponsored by the European Commission and industry, including Safety Evaluation Ultimately Replacing Animal Testing (SEURAT). The Consortium aims to accelerate implementation of methods that result from these and other efforts by providing complementary support in 3 key areas: 1) addressing critical scientific needs not covered by current efforts, 2) communication with stakeholders including non-governmental organizations, government officials and the public, 3) providing an independent venue for lobbying and fundraising to support pathway-based science and policies.
The HTPC held their first workshop in Washington, DC on November 9-10, 2010. Speakers at this workshop, “Accelerating Implementation of the National Research Council Vision for Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century,” described current programs in the US and EU, and proposed innovative and collaborative approaches for moving the “vision” forward. The workshop summary is published in Toxicological Sciences. An AltTox article, “Accelerating the National Research Council Vision for 21st Century Toxicology,” provides additional details on the goals of the HTPC and outcomes of this workshop.
The Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is a technology-driven, nonprofit organization created to advance the development, validation, and use of in vitro methods in toxicology.
Since its founding in 1997, IIVS has come to be recognized as a leading national and international authority on the 3Rs and toxicity testing through the following program activities:
Established in 2004 by a former US Environmental Protection Agency senior scientist and program manager, the International (Q)SAR Foundation (IQF) is a nonprofit research entity working to develop quantitative structure-activity relationship [(Q)SAR] and other in silico models as non-animal alternatives for identifying chemical hazards. The stated mission of the IQF is to “develop computerized tools as alternatives to animal testing in order to decrease our reliance on animal tests in regulation, research and education.” The goals of IQF include demonstrating “the reliability of (Q)SAR-based methods in hazard identification.”
Activities of the IQF include the organization of workshops, support of various research projects, and providing access to relevant software, databases, and training. Central to the foundation’s mission is the organization of focused workshops to bring together experts from the regulatory, regulated, and other stakeholder communities to identify barriers to alternative approaches, as well as priorities for research to overcome these barriers. The topics of recent workshops include reactive toxicity, aquatic toxicity, and predictive toxicology. The IQF also supports and collaborates on various research projects including: (Q)SAR for inhalation toxicity in mammals, (Q)SAR for aquatic toxicity of reactive chemicals, (Q)SAR for classification of skin/lung sensitization, and more.
The Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) is “an international, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health for both people and animals.” The goal of CAAT is to “promote humane science by supporting the creation, development, validation, and use of alternatives to animals in research, product safety testing, and education.”
CAAT was established in 1981 by Alan Goldberg at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health (Baltimore, Maryland). Dr. Goldberg served as the Director of CAAT for over 25 years.
In 2009, Thomas Hartung, former Director of the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), was appointed as the second Director of CAAT. CAAT continues to grow and evolve, and in 2010 established the new European center, CAAT-Europe at the University of Konstanz, Germany.
CAAT’s 3Rs activities include providing research grants and 3Rs awards; organizing and sponsoring numerous international workshops and symposia; conducting a robust research program; providing educational courses and programs; and providing 3Rs information through the alternatives information website, Altweb, as well as the journal ALTEX: Alternatives to Animal Experimentation.
Based at the University of California at Davis (UCD), the UCD Center for Animal Alternatives Information operates principally as an information resource for university administrators, scientists, students, and others with an interest in animal welfare and the 3Rs.
Specific objectives of the center are described by the Center as follows: