Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Toxicology in flux – Fraunhofer ITEM is participating in the European research project “EU-ToxRisk”


The aim of the comprehensive EU project “EU-ToxRisk” is to lay new foundations for a paradigm shift in toxicology – towards more efficient and animal-free hazard and risk assessment of chemicals. An international consortium of 39 partner organizations from academia, industry and regulatory authorities will participate in this project receiving funding of 30 million euros. The Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM is bringing in its expertise with a focus on inhalation toxicology. EU-ToxRisk will be kicked off in Egmont aan Zee in The Netherlands) in mid-January 2016 and will run for a period of six years.

The European Commission is funding this large-scale project “EU-ToxRisk” under its research and innovation funding scheme “Horizon 2020”. The aim is to integrate the results of the research project into future regulatory chemical safety and risk assessment and to establish new assessment concepts – not only in Europe, but worldwide. These new concepts will involve cutting-edge, human-relevant in-vitro non-animal methods and in-silico computational technologies to translate molecular mechanistic understanding of toxicity into safety testing strategies.

The Fraunhofer P.R.I.T. ®-ExpoCube® exposure system allows to study airborne substances by exposing cells or vital tissue samples from the respiratory tract directly at the air/liquid interface.

Photo: R. Meier / Fraunhofer ITEM

“We are breaking new ground in toxicology, towards mechanism-based toxicological assessment. In-vitro methods, those that are human-relevant in particular, and in-silico methods are playing a crucial role in this paradigm shift. In-silico approaches today are no longer limited to deriving the toxicity of a substance from its structure, but also include toxicity and effect profiles,” says Dr. Annette Bitsch, head of the Fraunhofer ITEM Division of Chemical Risk Assessment. She and her team will bring to this EU project their expertise in inhalation toxicology in particular, which is the specialty of the Fraunhofer researchers.

The Fraunhofer scientists will contribute the experience they have gained with alternative methods in evaluating inhalation toxicity. For example, the P.R.I.T. ®-ExpoCube® exposure system developed at the Fraunhofer ITEM allows them to study airborne substances by exposing cells or vital tissue samples from the respiratory tract directly at the air/liquid interface. Suitable in-vitro or ex-vivo models are cultures of cells from the respiratory tract or vital lung tissue samples of human or animal origin, precision-cut lung slices (PCLS) in particular.

With its broad experience gained during development and application of toxicological databases and the use of read-across methods in regulatory contexts, the Fraunhofer ITEM can make an important contribution to the EU-ToxRisk project, in particular by developing in-silico methods.

Coordinated by Bob van de Water, Professor of Toxicology at Leiden University (The Netherlands), EU-ToxRisk intends to become the European flagship for animal-free chemical safety assessment. The project will integrate advancements in cell biology, “omics” technologies, systems biology and computational modelling to define the complex chains of events that link chemical exposure to toxic outcome. The consortium will provide proof of concept for a new mechanism-based chemical safety testing strategy with a focus on repeated-dose systemic toxicity as well as developmental and reproductive toxicity. Importantly, novel mechanism-based test methods will be integrated into fit-for-purpose testing batteries that are in line with the regulatory framework and will meet the requirements of industrial implementation. EU-ToxRisk will develop new quantitative risk assessment approaches based on understanding of so-called “Adverse Outcome Pathways” incorporating all mechanistic toxicity data available in the public domain. It will also achieve a rapid improvement of so-called “read across” approaches, to allow existing data gaps to be filled by means of alternative methods.

Fraunhofer ITEM
Dr. Annette Bitsch; +49 511 5350-302

Press contact
Fraunhofer ITEM
Dr. Cathrin Nastevska; +49 511 5350-225

Weitere Informationen:

The text of this press release including an image for download can be found on our homepage at

Presse Institute | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

More articles from Awards Funding:

nachricht Changing the Energy Landscape: Affordable Electricity for All
20.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

nachricht Emmy Noether junior research group investigates new magnetic structures for spintronics applications
11.10.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Awards Funding >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>