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Assessing risk to humans from chemical exposure by using non-animal test data.

Combes, R.D.

Toxicology in Vitro, 19(7), 921-924 (2005).

The use of data from non-animal toxicity methods in risk assessment has mainly been limited to hazard identification and for elucidating mechanisms of toxicity. However, there is a need to extend the use of in vitro tests to hazard characterisation and risk assessment. This might be feasible by: (a) increased use of human cells of different types; (b) better maintenance of differentiated cells in culture for long periods; (c) use of genetically-engineered cells with useful characteristics; (d) development of complex organotypic cell systems; (e) development of co-cultures of different cell types; and (f) development of techniques for long term culturing, repeat dosing and assessment of recovery. Also, it will be necessary to obtain more information on the differences between cells in culture and in situ in tissues, and on the effects of dosing in vitro and in vivo, to develop realistic and meaningful uncertainty factors to allow in vitro information to be used for risk assessment in its own right, and in conjunction with animal data. These issues and a suggested proposal for using in vitro data in risk assessment are discussed.