The transition to animal-free models for the safety assessment of chemicals is well underway. However, more needs to be done. A consortium of cell biologists, toxicologists and social scientists from Wageningen University & Research, Groningen University and the Rathenau institute, together with societal collaboration partners have co-designed the “Valuing Testing; Valuing animal free testing in chemical safety” project.
This project is one of the three recently funded projects within the theme Safety assessment via animal-free models, Acceptation and implementation of animal-free models for predicting health effects on humans of the Dutch Research Agenda and ZonMW.
"We will study the values of the general public, regulators and scientists working in different domains as well as institutional values and explore a common language of all involved stakeholders", says Hans Bouwmeester, who coordinates this project from the chair group of Toxicology, Wageningen University & Resarch. "Our unique approach is to organize citizens jury's to develope a stakeholder supported value framework, in combination with toxicological case studies. The citizens jury will be informed on recent advances of the experiments performed by the toxicologists. In turn the design of the experiments by toxicologists will be co-designed with the citizens jury’s. Obviously we cannot expect lay persons to perform studies in the lab, but the citizen dialogue can inform us how they would trust outcomes of simple experiments or outcomes of studies with human mini organs that we have available in our labs."
The intended outcome of the project is a stakeholder supported approach that incorporates underlying values and uncertainty from differently designed animal-free testing models aimed towards an increased acceptance of NAM-derived data in chemical safety assessment.