The Congress Linz 2010, this year the major international scientific event in the field of the 3Rs, took place on 2nd – 4th September in Linz, Austria. The congress was held as a joint congress of the European Society for Toxicology In Vitro (ESTIV) and the European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EUSAAT). It was therefore the 16th International Congress on In Vitro Toxicology, the 13th Annual Congress of EUSAAT and the 16th Congress on Alternatives to Animal Testing.

A group of researchers, funded by the European Comission, published in the actual issue of „Reproductive Toxicology“ a study, the so called "Feasibility Study" within the project ReProTect, in which they determine the hurtful effects of chemicals on reproduction reliably with animal-free methods.

An animal-free method has been included in the OECD test guideline (439 In Vitro Skin Irritation: Reconstructed Human Epidermis Test Method) on July, 22. This method now is approved by the authorities and has world-wide validity. With implementation of this in vitro test the amount of rabbits killed is expected to decrease significantly.

A microfluidic platform on which fragile blood vessels can be fixed was recently developed by Canadian scientists. The device allows to study the factors that promote and sustain cardiovascular diseases. The device could be used to routinely screen drug candidates on viable arteries. This may speed up the drug development process and could reduce animal experimentation.

We are very pleased to have listed over 85 state-of-the-art research groups and companies on our list of working groups. These groups mainly apply or even develop non-animal research methods.

A team of researchers at Columbia Engineering School has developed a new technique to evaluate human stem cells using cell micropatterning — a simple but powerful in vitro tool that will enable scientists to study the initiation of left-right asymmetry during tissue formation, to diagnose disease, and to study factors that could lead to certain birth defects.

Donald E. Ingber, Harward Univ., Boston (MA/USA), and colleagues have created a device that mimics a human lung on a microchip by using human lung and blood vessel cells and combining microfabrication techniques from the computer industry with modern tissue engineering techniques. The ability of the device to predict absorption of airborne nanoparticles and mimic the inflammatory response triggered by microbial pathogens, is a further proof for the concept that „organs-on-chips“ could replace many animal studies.

The "European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA)" a voluntary collaboration between the European Commission, European trade associations, and companies from 7 industry sectors, wants to accelerate the development, validation and acceptance of alternative approaches. The joint initiative announces an award up to 100.000€ to support the development and regulatory acceptance of 3Rs alternative methods.

The actual issue of the AltTox Digest is now available online. Amongst others it includes: The OECD approved a new guideline for an in vitro skin irritation test method; the Human Toxicology Project Consortium announces a workshop; new information about the upcoming 8th World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences (August 21-25, 2011 Montréal/Canada).

A unique patented assay for detecting and quantifying various substances inducing fever (pyrogens), the „PyroDetect System“, simulates human pyrogen-induced fever reactions better than any animal test available on the market. The Europ. Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods confirmed an easy manageability and the reliability of the assay, which now is introduced into the European Pharmacopoeia in 2010 as an alternative to the rabbit test.