Canadian Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (CaCVAM)

chemical beakers

“We see the official launch of the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods as a definite advantage to Canada. As regulatory science moves to rely more and more on non-animal alternatives, it is important that we now have a focal point at the University of Windsor that will serve as a centre of expertise, a key collaborative partner, and the training ground for the next generation of highly qualified personnel who will contribute to Canadian regulatory science. We are looking forward to pursuing many very evident opportunities for collaboration over the coming months and years, advancing our national and international efforts in the area of alternatives.” - Tim Singer, Director General, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Health Canada

Comprehensive global efforts guided by legislative mandates are in effect to reduce and replace the current—predominantly animal based—modes of chemical safety or toxicological risk assessment. Many alternative methods have already been accepted as replacements for animal testing and their utilization is increasing markedly in areas such as endocrine disruptor screening, topical hypersensitivity testing, and acute systemic toxicity prediction, both in industry and in regulatory decision-making.

While Canada does not have national legislative mandates to phase out animal testing at this juncture, it is essential to bring in a new era in research and innovation to advance human medicine and chemical safety testing through national and international alternatives efforts executed via a Canadian national centre, the Canadian Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (CaCVAM). With CaCVAM, Canada joins other countries across the globe that have already established national, federally-funded centres dedicated to the development and validation of alternative chemical safety assessment methods (e.g., BraCVAM in Brazil, ECVAM in the European Union, JaCVAM in Japan, KoCVAM in Korea, and ICCVAM in the United States).

The overarching goal of CaCVAM is to work in partnership with Canadian regulators—primarily Health Canada—to expedite the development, validation, and regulatory acceptance of new approach methodologies (alternatives to animal testing) to modernize toxicity testing in Canada. A key objective of CaCVAM is to focus on projects that are driven by Canadian regulatory needs while contributing to international efforts in a uniquely Canadian way, particularly by supporting Health Canada’s leadership role in the Chemical Test Guidelines Program at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods.