Welcome to the official website of the ESNATS project, a pan-European research project supported by the European Union.
ESNATS stands for Embryonic Stem cell-based Novel Alternative Testing Strategies and aims at developing a novel toxicity test platform based on embryonic stem cells (ESCs), in particular human ESC (hESCs) to accelerate drug development, reduce related R&D costs and propose a powerful alternative to animal tests.
To reach these goals, ESNATS will develop a battery of toxicity tests using hESC lines subjected to standardised culture and differentiation protocols. The different tests cover reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, metabolism and toxicokinetics, and will finally be integrated into an "all-in-one" test system. Culture of the required hESC lines will be automated and scaled-up to enable future industrial use of the developed toxicity tests.
ESNATS results will increase patient safety by developing of human test systems with better predictivity compared to animal tests, will thus contribute to reduce, refine and replace animal tests (3 Rs principle), lower drug testing cost, and allow rapid medium to high throughput testing substances.
The test system developed by the consortium will equally be useable to evaluate toxicity of other substances, for example in the context of REACH.
With a total budget of 15.5 M€ and a funding support of 11.9 M€ for 5 years from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for Research and Technology Development, ESNATS is coordinated by Professor Jürgen Hescheler from the University of Cologne and brings together leading European researchers in alternative testing, toxicology, ESC research, genomics, modelling, and automation. The consortium also includes representatives from regulatory bodies, the pharmaceutical industry and ethical advisors to provide guidance and to ensure rapid applicability of the developed test systems.
The ESNATS consortium publishes its Briefing Paper
Entitled “The novel FP7 ESNATS test systems of developmental toxicity: state-of-the art and future perspectives”, the briefing paper combines the ESNATS project major achievements and perspectives.
Following the drama of the poisoning of 23 Indian schoolchildren on July 16th 2013 due to contaminated school lunch, the ESNATS consortium will shortly publish an editorial. See more information in the press release.
The editorial explains how the pluripotent stem cell-based toxicity tests developed by the ESNATS consortium may become powerful tools in demonstrating the toxicity and understanding the impact of pesticides on human health.
Entitled "Monocrotophos in Gandaman village: the India school lunch deaths and need for improved toxicity testing", the editorial will be issued in The Archives of Toxicology, on line in mid-August and on paper in mid-September.