The OECD has won the Lush prize for its work on Adverse Outcome Pathways. The prize is in recognition of the team's work over many years in promoting a science-based approach towards the management of chemicals.
In 2012, the OECD launched a new programme on the development of Adverse Outcome Pathways. An Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) is an analytical construct that describes a sequential chain of causally linked events at different levels of biological organisation that lead to an adverse health or ecotoxicological effect (see figure). AOPs are the central element of a toxicological knowledge framework being built to support chemical risk assessment based on mechanistic reasoning.
Figure: schematic representation of the Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) illustrated with reference to a number of pathways.
The AOP development programme addresses the needs of:
The OECD co-ordinates its activities with the WHO/IPCS work on Mode of Action, as the AOP concept and the Mode of Action are closely related.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
|Guidance, template, format available
|AOP project proposal form|
Note: With experience gained from the AOP developers and the development of the Users' handbook, some parts of the Guidance Document below have become obsolete. An updated version of the GD will be available in 2016.
(Series No. 184, Series on Testing and Assessment)
(Series No. 168, Series on Testing and Assessment)
Project proposals for developing an AOP can be sent to the OECD Secretariat using the submission of proposals form (word file). Government representatives, academic experts, industry experts, non-governmental organisations, scientific societies, etc. can submit project proposals. The National Coordinators of the Test Guidelines Programme are also available for queries, and should be informed about proposals submitted.
Project proposals are reviewed twice a year and included in the AOP workplan if justified. Browse the list of projects already in the workplan.
This flow diagram shows how AOPs are developed, reviewed, agreed and published at the OECD. The publication of an AOP descriptive document in the Series on Testing and Assessment does not preclude the publication by authors of the AOP of scientific articles in the peer-reviewed literature; in fact, broad distribution of the resulting products is encouraged.
Most of the AOP development and review is intended to take place via a web-based IT management tool (“AOP Knowledge Base”) which was publically launched in September 2014.
Once developed and reviewed by the Advisory Group on Molecular Screening and Toxicogenomics, and other relevant expert groups under the Test Guidelines Programme, the AOP is endorsed by the Working Group of the National Coordinators of the Test Guidelines Programme and the Task Force on Hazard Assessment, and declassified by the Joint Meeting overseeing the OECD work on chemical safety.
The AOP Knowledge Base (AOP KB) is a web-based platform which aims to bring together all knowledge on how chemicals can induce adverse effects, therefore providing a focal point for AOP development and dissemination. The project is jointly led by the OECD, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the European Commission's Joint Research Center.