The project has delivered a set of tools and technologies, as well as a framework to tie them together. Replacing traditional animal experiments with predictive toxicology also requires a deep and detailed understanding of how chemicals cause adverse effects in humans. SEURAT-1’s framework assembles evidence based on mechanisms called adverse outcome pathways (AOPs), which detail the biological steps leading to an adverse health effect, beginning with a molecular initiating event.

Liver toxicity

Since many chemicals affect the liver, SEURAT-1 scientists have made a concerted effort to understand and monitor different toxicity mechanisms related to this organ.

For example, they have unearthed AOPs for three key liver toxicity mechanisms: fibrosis, steatosis and cholestasis.

Another example is the HeMiBio project, which leads to the building of a miniature device to mimic a human liver and to monitor what happens to cells when a chemical passes through. The device has already been used to increase understanding of toxicity mechanisms for well-known pharmaceuticals.

Furthermore, the Notox project has developed a 3D liver model for chronic repeated exposure toxicity studies.

To help hunt out chemicals likely to cause liver toxicity, the Detective project has identified a set of biomarkers for liver toxicity.

Eventually, a cell factory project called SCR&Tox has provided human induced pluripotent stem cells by reprogramming mature cells to become immature and then to form fresh liver cells.

The EU’s next major alternatives project, called EUToxRisk, will build on SEURAT-1’s findings. “The SEURAT-1 project has provided important groundbreaking work to establish a validated toolbox for alternative methods,” said EUToxRisk coordinator Bob van de Water from Leiden University in The Netherlands. “A large proportion will be incorporated within the new EUToxRisk project. In addition, the case study concept that was developed within SEURAT-1 will be a central component within EUToxRisk,” he added.

Cosmetics Europe will continue the research efforts, both through its partnership with the EUToxRisk project and through its Long Range Science Strategy programme (2016-2020), which will also use SEURAT-1 knowledge.

Let’s remind that the European Union has promulgated a full ban on animal testing for cosmetic products since 2013 and that several countries are adopting similar legislations.