NTP "Roadmap" Emphasizes Alternatives


A new document issued by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) offers one of the federal government's strongest endorsements of the 3Rs of alternatives. The NTP's "Roadmap for the Future" calls for the full incorporation of the 3Rs in experimental design and requires training in humane science for researchers who work with animals: "The NTP currently emphasizes in the design of its studies full incorporation of the three principle concepts of alternatives: replacement, reduction, and refinement. Further, to be consistent with the Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service rules on animal use, the NTP requires that all animal studies be designed to eliminate or, at least, minimize any potential pain and distress. The NTP also requires that investigators and/or contractors have training in humane experimental techniques and, as possible, promotes the use of non-invasive approaches in animal studies. The NTP will hold to these principles and practices as it implements the NTP Roadmap" (p.4).

The NTP coordinates toxicological testing programs within the federal government, develops and validates improved testing methods, and works to strengthen scientific knowledge about potentially hazardous health effects from chemical and physical exposures. The new roadmap is aimed at moving away from the current one-animal-test-per-endpoint to a future of understanding what the chemical does in the body and using that to predict the toxicity. The long-term goal is to evaluate toxicological effects based on mechanistic tests.