EURL ECVAM Status Report 2021 Published

Posted on: 02/10/2023

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the EC published the annual report of the EU Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing (EURL ECVAM) entitled ‘Non-animal Methods in Science and Regulation’. The report describes their activities in research, development and validation, as well as initiatives that promote the uptake and use of non-animal methods and approaches in science and regulation.


EURL ECVAM continues to invest in the development of New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) such as in vitro methods using 3D tissues and cells, organ-on-chip, computational models (including artificial intelligence) and ‘omics (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics) via different EU projects. This is fully in line with the ‘Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability’ which is part of the EU Green Deal. These projects include:

  • EU-ToxRisk: how NAMs can be used to support chem­ical grouping and read-across to avoid the generation of new animal data,
  • EURION cluster: 8 individual projects focusing on the devel­opment of NAMs for identifying endocrine disruptors,
  • ASPIS cluster: comprises the Ontox, PrecisionTox and RiskHunt3R projects,
  • APCRA: a government-to-government initiative which promotes collaboration and dialogue on the scientific and regulatory needs for the application and acceptance of NAMs in regulatory decision making,
  • European Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC): to support the development and imple­mentation of a research and innovation programme to address current and future needs in chemical risk assessment,
  • VAC2VAC to explore ways to move from the current in vivo based quality control strategy to a consistency approach that leads to replacement, reduction or refinement of animal use and shorten the overall release time of vaccine batches

Validation and standardization of methods

Two test submissions based on recon­structed skin models for genotoxicity testing have been evaluated. If promising, the proposed test methods will progress to peer review by the ECVAM Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) and subsequently to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Develop­ment (OECD) test guidelines development. In addition, the PARERE network was consulted on a method in the field of respiratory sensitization.

Regulatory application

Several actions have been made to increase the acceptance and regulatory uptake of following test methods:

  • Defined Approaches for skin sensitization (Test Guideline n. 497),
  • Developmental neurotoxicity in vitro battery assays,
  • Integrated Approach to Testing and Assessment (IATA) for non-genotoxic carcinogens,
  • Metal/metalloid release using a simple simulated gastric fluid,
  • OECD detailed review paper on the miniaturised Ames test.

Biomedical Research

In 2021, EURL ECVAM published 2 new reviews of NAMs used in neurodegenerative diseases and immu­no-oncology. EURL ECVAM also explored ways for improving collaboration within biomedical domains and evaluated the output and impact of biomedical EU-funded research.


Following a strategy outlined in the EURL ECVAM Report ‘Introducing the Three Rs into secondary schools, universities and continuing education programmes’ (Holloway et al., 2021), EURL ECVAM continues to build on progress made in introducing the Three Rs into education programmes via several means:

  • JRC virtual summer school on non-animal approaches in science: ‘the Three R...evolution’,
  • Three Rs Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for teachers,
  • e-learning modules on developing and searching for NAMs.


Download and read the full report here.


EURL ECVAM Status Report 2021