Collaboration Between ZEBET, FRAME and ECVAM: FRAME’s Contribution to Establishing the Three Rs in Europe
FRAME has more than any other institution contributed to the implementation of the Three Rs concept in Europe. The first step was achieved by establishing the European Research Group on Alternatives to Toxicity Testing (ERGATT), in which individual scientists in several European countries began to collaborate to promote the development and validation of in vitro toxicity tests in order to refine, reduce and replace the use of animals in toxicity testing. The first successful project was the start of the INVITOX in vitro toxicology database, which is today managed by ECVAM. Major milestones were the establishment in 1989 of ZEBET, the first national centre for alternatives, in Germany, and of ECVAM in 1991. In 1990, ERGATT and CAAT organised a workshop in Amden, Switzerland, at which European and US scientists developed the concept of experimental validation of toxicity tests, which today remains the basis for the independent, scientific validation process. ECVAM has applied this validation concept in all of its successful validation studies, which have provided in vitro toxicity tests that have been accepted for regulatory purposes by the EU Commission and by the OECD. By re-launching the ATLA journal in 1983, FRAME provided another powerful scientific tool for promoting the Three Rs in Europe and around the world. The close cooperation of scientists from FRAME, ZEBET and ECVAM has most effectively promoted and established the Three Rs as the basic scientific, ethical and legal concept for refining, reducing and replacing the use of experimental animals.