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New JRC tool helps to identify chemicals useful for the development and validation of alternative methods

Chemical Lists Information System – CheLIST - officially launched: it provides a means of identifying whether a chemical (or chemical group) has been tested in a major EU or international research project and also (to a limited extent for now) whether the chemical appears on a specific regulatory inventory

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A key requirement for the development, characterisation and eventual validation of alternative (non-animal) methods for use in biomedical research and regulatory safety assessment is the availability of suitable reference or benchmark chemicals for which reliable structural, physicochemical and biological property data are available. Such chemicals may possess for example a specific mode-of-action or be representative of a class of chemicals associated with a particular commercial or regulatory sector. Having the right set of reference chemicals allows rigorous and systematic evaluation of a method's performance which is necessary to understand its strengths and limitations, build confidence in the information it provides, and to indicate where and how it can be most successfully applied.      

However the type of information needed to select reference chemicals is typically scattered across a plethora of heterogeneous databases, project websites and peer-reviewed literature. This severely hampers the progress in advancing alternative methods such as in vitro assays and computational biology models used for predictive toxicology or pharmacology. Moreover, many valuable highly-curated lists of reference chemicals already exist and could be exploited for other projects and purposes but unfortunately this is frequently hindered due to lack of awareness or lack of easy access. 

To tackle this issue, the EU Reference Laboratory for Alternative to Animal testing (EURL ECVAM) of the European Commission's Joint Research Center releases today the "Chemical Lists Information System" (CheLIST) that provides a means of identifying whether a chemical (or chemical group) has been tested in a major EU or international research project and also (to a limited extent for now) whether the chemical appears on a specific regulatory inventory. Information is provided on chemical identifiers (e.g. name, CAS number) and chemical structure, and the database can be searched according to these types of information. The various datasets and inventories can also be compared in order to identify overlaps in chemical membership and to generate customised lists. All lists can be easily downloaded and the references provided for each list allow traceability back to the source.

Typical queries in CheLIST are:

  • "Which chemicals were used in the FP7 CarcinoGENOMICS project?"
  • "On what regulatory inventories and research projects does chemical X appear?"
  • "Give me all chemicals that are registered in REACH and were tested in the US EPA ToxCast Programme"
  • "What chemicals used both in SEURAT-1 and Tox21 have this structural motif?"

CheLIST is in its infancy but will continue to grow in content. If you have a chemical list that should be included, then please contact the CheLIST team.

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Scientists from EURL ECVAM show you what they are doing to advance safety assessment of chemicals without relying on animal testingdefault frame updated video

Transcript also available:pdf icon EN; FR; DE; IT.

Version updated June 2014.

 

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