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Johns Hopkins: EPA Awards Funding to Develop Alternative Test Methods to Reduce, Refine, or Replace Animal Testing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded Johns Hopkins University researchers $849,276 in funding in conjunction with a directive announced September 10 by the EPA to aggressively reduce and eventually eliminate vertebrate animal testing.

Principal investigator, Dr. Lena Smirnova, a researcher with the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will lead the project. Founded in 1981, CAAT promotes humane science and human-relevant, modern approaches in the field of toxicology and risk assessment, with the goal of reducing animal testing.

The research project also includes faculty from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering and the Wilmer Eye Institute. The Johns Hopkins researchers will use the grant to develop a test strategy based on a human cell-derived brain model to assess the mechanism by which environmental chemicals might cause developmental neurotoxicity and to screen the chemicals for their developmental neurotoxicity potency.

The EPA estimates that over 200,000 laboratory animals already have been saved in recent years as a result of efforts to reduce animal testing.

The Johns Hopkins EPA grant is part of $4.5 million in funding for research to develop alternatives to animal testing. Grantees also include Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Oregon State University, and University of California Riverside.

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