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®: CRE Regulatory Action of the Week

NIH-EPA Tox Test Agreement Constitutes Radical Change in Agenciesí Toxicity Testing

On February 14, 2008, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences announced a new collaboration with the National Human Genome Research Institute and the Environmental Protection Agency. This collaboration will leverage the strengths of each group in a new toxicity testing agreement to use high-speed, automated screening robots to test suspected toxicants using cells and isolated molecular targets.

This new approach to toxicity testing is discussed in a February 15, 2008 article in Science magazine. The article is coauthored by Francis S. Collins, Director, National Human Genome Research Institute; George M. Gray, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Research and Development, U. S. EPA; and John R. Bucher , Associate Director, U.S. National Toxicology Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The Science article explains that this use of robots for toxicity testing is part of a federal agency "shift from primarily in vivo animal studies to in vitro assays, in vitro assays with lower organisms, and computational modeling for toxicity assessments." This shift is important to any party who is regulated all or in part on the basis of toxicity tests.

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