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PETA science consortium, experts provide training to government regulators

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Washington — The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is co-organizing and funding a training seminar on the OECD QSAR Toolbox, a set of computational tools that predict a chemical's toxicity without testing on animals.

The training will be provided by experts from the Laboratory of Mathematical Chemistry (LMC) at the University of Bourgas in Bulgaria. Sixty U.S. government scientists and regulators will participate in four intensive two-day sessions over the next two weeks.

Since its launch in 2008, the OECD QSAR Toolbox has been regularly updated, and this training comes on the heels of the release of the 4.0 version of the Toolbox earlier this month. The program is available to download for free and is intended to be used by the chemical industry and regulatory agencies in hazard assessment and to increase the accessibility, transparency, and regulatory acceptance of quantitative structure activity relationship (QSAR) models.

LMC developed the software with the support of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and contributions from multiple expert organizations, including the International QSAR Foundation. Science Consortium member PETA U.S. funded the International QSAR Foundation to develop computer models that have since been incorporated into the Toolbox.

"We are pleased to support training in the use of rigorous computational tools that can predict chemical toxicity without harming animals," says Dr. Amy Clippinger, associate director of the Science Consortium. "We are excited to offer this training to EPA's top regulatory scientists," said LMC Director Professor Ovanes Mekenyan. "Familiarity with these QSAR tools will increase their use by government and industry to predict chemical toxicity."

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The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. works to accelerate the development, validation, and global implementation of animal-free science. It was established in 2012 to coordinate the scientific and regulatory expertise of its members — PETA U.S., PETA U.K., PETA France, PETA Germany, PETA India, PETA Netherlands, PETA Asia, and PETA Australia.

The Laboratory of Mathematical Chemistry was established in 1984 as a laboratory for structure activity modeling within the "Prof. dr. Asen Zlatarov" public university in Burgas, Bulgaria. LMC team members have expertise in chemistry, biochemistry, physics, mathematics, and software development.

For more information, please visit PISCLtd.org.uk or QSARToolbox.org.

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Kathy Guillermo
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