News from the Evidence-based Toxicology Collaboration, August 2013.
Evidence-based Toxicology Collaboration

The EBTC Comments on the ‘Draft OHAT Approach for Systematic Review and Evidence Integration for Literature-based Health Assessments’

The Office of Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT) of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) had invited public comments on their draft approach for systematic review and evidence integration for literature-based health assessments. As the application of systematic review to toxicological questions is one of the core interests of the EBTC, we appreciated the opportunity to provide our comments. In general, the EBTC welcomed the OHAT draft approach as a contribution to enhance transparency, objectivity and consistency in toxicology. However, we felt that its brevity results in several instances in lack of clarity, so we called for corresponding elaborations.  The EBTC is looking forward to OHAT’s responses to our and others’ comments, which can be found here.

The EBTC at Recent and Upcoming Meetings

EBTC Lunch Session at the EUROTOX 2013
This year the EUROTOX Congress, to be held at Interlaken, Switzerland, September 1-4, features a lunch session on EBTC on September 2 (13:00 – 14:00h). The following topics will be presented:
  • Evidence-based Toxicology (EBT) and the EBT Collaboration (Sebastian Hoffmann, seh consulting + services)
  • EBT and Integrated Testing Strategies (Thomas Hartung, Johns Hopkins University)
  • Toxicology Ontology Development supporting Evidence-based Approaches in Predictive Toxicology (Barry Hardy, Switzerland)

The XIII International Congress of Toxicology (ICT)

(Ian Kimber chairing the EBTC session at ICT 2013)

A dedicated session on “The Evidence-Based Toxicology Collaboration” was part of the congress that was held from June 30 to July 4, 2013 in Seoul, South Korea. The session, whose speakers are members of the North American or European steering committees of the EBTC, featured presentations on the need for evidence-based approaches in toxicology (Ian Kimber, University of Manchester), activities of the Evidence-Based Toxicology Collaboration (EBTC) (Thomas Hartung, Johns Hopkins University on behalf of Martin Stephens, JHU), methodologies and methods of EBT (Sebastian Hoffmann, seh consulting + services) and EBT as a toolbox for the assessment of tests and testing strategies (Thomas Hartung on behalf of Richard Judson, US Environmental Protection Agency). In addition, a poster about the EBTC and its activities was presented.
2nd International Symposium on Systematic Reviews in Laboratory Animal Science
The EBTC was invited to give a presentation at the 2nd International Symposium on Systematic Reviews in Laboratory Animal Science, held on March 7-8 in Edinburgh, UK. The symposium addressed the design and impact of systematic review work on animal models across both academia and industry and the contribution of such work to aid clinical trial design. From the perspective of the EBTC, it was especially interesting to get insight into the challenges of conducting systematic reviews of pre-clinical animal studies. These challenges, which lie primarily in the adaptation of systematic review tools to the preclinical arena and in their systematic implementation, are likely to be encountered in a similar, if not augmented way, when establishing evidence-based approaches in toxicology. A striking example highlighting the value of systematic implementation was a cumulative meta-analysis, which sequentially included studies from 1990 to 2008, on the effect of tissue plasminogen activator on stroke infarct volume demonstrating that the estimate of efficacy was stable from around 2001.

Recommended Reading

Mechanistic validation (PDF). Thomas Hartung, Sebastian Hoffmann, and Martin L. Stephens. In this article the authors explore the mostly neglected assessment of a test’s scientific basis, which moves mechanism and causality to the foreground when assessing tests. They also discuss how mechanistic validation relates to EBT.

The EBTC welcomes your advice, involvement, and financial support!

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