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In October 2010, a group of experts met as part of the transatlantic think tank for toxicology (t4) to exchange ideas about the current status and future of safety testing of nanomaterials. At present, there is no widely accepted path forward to assure appropriate and effective hazard identification for engineered nanomaterials. The group discussed needs for characterization of nanomaterials and identified testing protocols that incorporate the use of innovative alternative whole models such as zebrafish or C. elegans, as well as in vitro or alternative methods to examine specific functional pathways and modes of action. The group proposed elements of a potential testing scheme for nanomaterials that works towards an integrated testing strategy, incorporating the goals of the NRC report Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy by focusing on pathways of toxic response, and utilizing an evidence-based strategy for developing the knowledge base for safety assessment. Finally, the group recommended that a reliable, open, curated database be developed that interfaces with existing databases to enable sharing of information.
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