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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthCAAT


UPDATED: Alternatives for Developmental Neurotoxicity Testing Meeting Report now available (from CAAT's 2006 TestSmart DNT Workshop/Symposium)

In 1999, CAAT introduced TestSmart, a new approach to risk assessment. TestSmart is intended to provide a new model for toxicology, one that is both more humane and more predictive. CAAT established TestSmart with the aim of developing and sharing knowledge in the development of alternative methods in animal testing in order to promote the ultimate adoption of alternative methods. TestSmart involves bringing together all the various stakeholder groups, including research scientists, government scientists, regulators, policy analysts, industry representatives, academics, and public interest groups from around the world, seeking to identify newer, better testing methods than those commonly used or accepted today. Our short-term goal is to reduce the number of animals required for testing. Our long-term goal is to provide a process that will protect both people and the environment better than current methods can.

Current TestSmart Approach: TestSmart DNT

Developmental Neurotoxicity (DNT) is an area of high need in the development of alternatives to current animal testing protocols and guidelines. Increasingly industry is required to provide adequate information for the assessment of developmental neurotoxicity in their chemical products and wastes. In addition, other increased requirements for toxicity testing, embodied in the REACH proposals in the EU, will have an impact on the testing of chemicals in the US and globally for all products to be sold within the European Union. Current methods for DNT testing are complex and expensive in terms of scientific resources, time, and animal use. Without the creation and implementation of a DNT alternatives program, this testing will require vast increases in the numbers of animals to be used in DNT tests. There is also increasing pressure from environmental health advocacy groups and organizations concerned with children's welfare and development for more efficient methods to identify chemicals that may pose risks to the developing brain.

The goals of the TestSmart DNT program are to: (1) identify alternative DNT models based on evolutionarily conserved, mechanism-based endpoints of relevance to developmental neurotoxicity; (2) develop the process for validating candidate alternative methods both scientifically and in terms of regulatory applications; and (3) identify opportunities for reducing, refining, or replacing the use of animals in DNT.

Public interest groups (such as Children's Environmental Health Network, Environmental Defense, and the animal protection community), academics, government scientists and regulators, and industry representatives will meet March 13-15, 2006 for the first TestSmart DNT meeting to address these goals. For more information, please see the TestSmart DNT website.

TestSmart History


In 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Chemical Manufacturers Association agreed to conduct hazard evaluation studies on 2,800 top-selling or "high production volume" (HPV) chemicals to determine their effects on people and the environment. Because these studies would require large numbers of animal tests, CAAT asked the parties involved to step back and consider whether the same information could be collected with fewer animals, and whether new approaches could be used for gathering this data. A "TestSmart-HPV" workshop was organized in April 1999; participants represented government, industry, academia, and the animal protection community. Following the workshop, the EPA announced it had decreased its estimates for animal use by 80%.

TestSmart: A Humane and Efficient Approach to Screening Information Sets (SIDS) Data — April 26-27, 1999 Workshop


In 2001, CAAT held a workshop aimed at helping make pharmaceutical safety and efficacy testing more humane and more predictive. The meeting brought together representatives of the FDA, the pharmaceutical industry, academia, and the animal welfare community to examine such topics as: requirements for safety evaluation of pharmaceuticals, cellular and molecular models for hepatoxicity, transgenic models, methods of decreasing pain and distress, structure-activity models, tiered approaches to toxicity testing, bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics, and the use of human cells in testing, among other topics.

TestSmart Pharmaceuticals — May 7-9, 2001 Workshop

TestSmart-Endocrine Disruptors

The U.S. Congress has directed the EPA to evaluate a host of chemicals for their ability to disrupt human and animal endocrine systems, yet very little is actually known about whether and how such disruption occurs. CAAT organized an initial meeting in February 2001 and a large public meeting in February 2002, with representatives of the chemical industry, U.S. government, and academia, to evaluate the science behind this initiative and the validity of current testing models (the EDSTAC-proposed Tier I Screening Battery), as well as to propose directions for the future.

Test Smart-Endocrine Disruptors — February 21-22, 2001 Workshop

TestSmart-Endocrine Disruptors — February 25-26, 2002 Workshop