Training Needs for Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Survey-informed Analysis
Silvia Lapenna, Silke Gabbert and Andrew Worth
Current training needs on the use of alternative methods in predictive toxicology, including new approaches based on mode-of-action (MoA) and adverse outcome pathway (AOP) concepts, are expected to evolve rapidly. In order to gain insight into stakeholder preferences for training, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) conducted a single-question survey with twelve experts in regulatory agencies, industry, national research organisations, NGOs and consultancies. Stakeholder responses were evaluated by means of theory-based qualitative data analysis. Overall, a set of training topics were identified that relate both to general background information and to guidance for applying alternative testing methods. In particular, for the use of in silico methods, stakeholders emphasised the need for training on data integration and evaluation, in order to increase confidence in applying these methods for regulatory purposes. Although the survey does not claim to offer an exhaustive overview of the training requirements, its findings support the conclusion that the development of well-targeted and tailor-made training opportunities that inform about the usefulness of alternative methods, in particular those that offer practical experience in the application of in silico methods, deserves more attention. This should be complemented by transparent information and guidance on the interpretation of the results generated by these methods and software tools.