The Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM): A Review of the ICCVAM Test Method Evaluation Process and Current International Collaborations with the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM)
William S. Stokes, Leonard M. Schechtman and Richard N. Hill
Over the last decade, national authorities in the USA and Europe have launched initiatives to validate new and improved toxicological test methods. In the USA, the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM), and its supporting National Toxicology Program Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM), were established by the Federal Government to work with test developers and Federal agencies to facilitate the validation, review, and adoption of new scientifically sound test methods, including alternatives that can reduce, refine, and replace animal use. In Europe, the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) was established to conduct validation studies on alternative test methods. Despite differences in organisational structure and processes, both organisations seek to achieve the adoption and use of alternative test methods. Accordingly, both have adopted similar validation and regulatory acceptance criteria. Collaborations and processes have also evolved to facilitate the international adoption of new test methods recommended by ECVAM and ICCVAM. These collaborations involve the sharing of expertise and data for test-method workshops and independent scientific peer reviews, and the adoption of processes to expedite the consideration of test methods already reviewed by the other organisation. More recently, NICEATM and ECVAM initiated a joint international validation study on in vitro methods for assessing acute systemic toxicity. These collaborations are expected to contribute to accelerated international adoption of harmonised new test methods that will support improved public health and provide for reduced and more-humane use of laboratory animals.