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EBTC Newsletter #14, October 2016                                            View this email in your browser

EBTC Newsletter • October 2016 • Newsletter #14

This Month at the EBTC:   

Welcome to the EBTC Newsletter!

In this issue we would like to draw your attention to recent publications of systematic reviews in toxicology and, in particular, to the special issue of Environment International on Systematic Review Methods. This is a significant step by this major journal towards acceptance of evidence-based approaches in environmental sciences.

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act
On June 22, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amends the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), the nation’s primary chemicals management law. The new law includes much needed improvements. Details can be found here.
 
The Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act (LCSA) requires that, when considering scientific evidence for testing and assessing chemicals, decisions shall be based on the weight of the scientific evidence (WoE).  While this is not defined in the statute, in the Congressional Record, weight of the scientific evidence is defined “a systematic review method that uses a pre-established protocol to comprehensively, objectively, transparently, and consistently, identify and evaluate each stream of evidence, including strengths, limitations, and relevance of each study and to integrate evidence as necessary and appropriate based upon strengths, limitations, and relevance.”  This definition makes clear the important role evidence based toxicology and systematic review will play in future LCSA regulations.
 
Approaches for implementation need to be developed and the evidence-based toxicology stakeolder community, united under the EBTC umbrella, can serve as a valuable resource for EPA.
EBTC-organized symposium at the XIV International Congress of Toxicology (ICT)

A symposium on systematic reviews in toxicology organized by the EBTC was held at the XIV ICT, which took place from Oct 2-6 in Merida, Mexico. Co-chaired by the EBTC’s Sebastian Hoffmann and Andrew Rooney from the National Toxicology Program’s Office of Health Assessment and Translation at National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NTP/OHAT), the symposium featured an overview of the current use of systematic review and its application to toxicological and environmental health questions. After an introductory presentation by Sebastian Hoffmann, Rob de Vries from the SYstematic Review Centre for Laboratory animal Experimentation at the Radboud University Medical Center (SYRCLE) summarized the progress made and the challenges faced when introducting systematic reviews to animal studies. Andrew Rooney addressed the integration of human, animal, and mechanistic data to support conclusions in a systematic review, one of the most important challenges when adapting systematic reviews to toxicological questions. After Vincent Cogliano  from US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explained how systematic approaches are applied in the hazard and dose-response assessment in EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System Program (IRIS), Didier Verloo (European Food Safety Authority) presented how EFSA is implementing systematic approaches to support answering a broad range of  risk assessment questions. Thesymposium was well attended and generated lively discussions with the audience. 
EBTC participates in the first meeting of the Evidence Synthesis International (ESI)

Representing the EBTC, Sebastian Hoffmann attended the inaugural meeting of the Evidence Synthesis International (ESI), which was held on September 25 as a satellite meeting to the What Works Global Summit 2016 in London, UK, where it was launched the next day. The ESI brings together organisations that have an interest in evidence synthesis, either as producers, users, or advocates. Attendees were drawn from a variety of fields, including human health, conservation, education, and  veterinary medicine. The meeting refined the role of ESI in evidence synthesis. As evidence synthesis in toxicology is still in its infancy compared to other fields, the EBTC is well positioned to represent the toxicology community at the ESI as it continues developing.
EBTC would like to announce the formation of new work groups:
 
Tox 21/ToxCast data analysis work group: This working group, led by Dr. Hubert Dirven from The Norwegian Health Institute, is focused on applying evidence-based methods to analysis of in vitro data streams such as Tox21 and US EPA ToxCastTM.
 
Empirical risk of bias work group: This working group, led by Dr. Kristina Thayer of NIEHS, is developing an empirical risk of bias tool for in vitro studies, compatible with the integration of these data into overall risk assessment to inform regulatory decisions.
 
 Please contact us if you would like to get involved in any of these work groups or have some thoughts or suggestions.
About EBTC: The EBTC is an open international collaboration of leading academic, government, non-profit and industry organizations, formed in order to foster collaborative development and adoption of evidence-based methodologies in toxicology. EBTC is governed by the Board of Trustees.

EBTC Board of Trustees:
Dr. John “Jack” R. Fowle III - President of the Board
Dr. Rob de Vries - Vice President of the Board and Chair ad interim of the Scientific Advisory Council
Dr. James J. Freeman
Dr. Nancy Beck
Dr. Thomas Hartung
Dr. Sebastian Hoffmann
Dr. Ian Kimber
Dr. Andrew Rooney
Dr. Thomas Singer
Dr. Martin L. Stephens
Dr. Katya Tsaioun
Dr. Didier Verloo

You may see biographies of the Board members here.
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