PATROLS - Review 2018

The PATROLS project started in January 2018 and, through its consortium of 24 partners, has already achieved significant advances. This article reviews progress and outcomes in its first year and looks forward to 2019.

Getting started
As a large multi-disciplined consortium, it was important we had a good start, to ensure we gave the PATROLS project solid foundations upon which the science can be developed.

This included establishing the working teams, providing a centralised database both for new data collation and linkage to large data-sets generated by recently completed European projects, and putting into place formalised guidance documents and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for engineered nanomaterial (ENM) acquisition & handling (e.g. dispersion and endotoxin testing protocols).

Establishing these guidance documents for the consortium is extremely important in complex research projects involving large numbers of partners because it allows for standarsidation across the whole group to ensure consistency in the approaches that underpin the direction of the work in PATROLS.

Scientific and technical advances
The project made scientific significant progress during the year, in a number of other areas.

• Designing the first generation lung, liver and gastro-intestinal tract models, which are currently being tested with more realistic repeated ENM exposures.
• Partners completed a comprehensive review of all existing long-term in vivo oral and inhalation toxicity studies, which will be used to benchmark the development of the advanced in vitro models.
• And finally, PATROLS initiated the first set of long-term exposure studies in environmental organisms.
Reaching international stakeholders

Through summer and autumn of 2018, PATROLS was involved in three different external events across Europe that help to deliver project outcomes and get stakeholders involved in project activities. These were:

• PATROLS-GRACIOUS-NanoSafety Cluster SOP workshop, Bilthoven, Netherlands, 12-13 June: This enabled PATROLS to agree on the development common SOPs with the GRACIOUS project, which will be very important in harmonisation of methodologies within ENM assessment.
• Industrial stakeholder engagement workshop, Chemspec Germany 20-21 June: This major speciality trade show, with over 4000, delegates allowed PATROLS to assess interest in PATROLS outcomes and the best options to reach target users.
• PATROLS Ecotoxicity SOP workshop, Denmark, 12 October. This workshop focused on the development process required for Ecotoxicity testing SOPs. The input from this and the human SOP workshops in June was an SOP template to be used throughout the consortium (which has gone through review by representatives from both the OECD and ISO) to aid future methods adoption.

At the same time, PATROLS was represented in 8 conferences giving scientific oral and poster presentations.

• SETAC 2018, Rome, Italy, 13-17 May
• ChemSpec, Cologne, Germany, 20-21 June
• Lung In vitro event (LIVe2018), Nice, France, 5-6 July
• EUROTOX, Brussels, Belgium, 2-5 September
• UKEMS 2018, 2-5 September Oxford, UK, 2-5 September
• NanoSafety Cluster Forum for Young Scientists, Valletta, Malta, 10-11 September:
• NanoTox 2018, Neuss, Germany, 18-21 September
• 20th International Congress on In Vitro Toxicology (ESTIV2018), Berlin, Germany, 15-18 October

Targets for 2019
PATROLS will complete the benchmarking and preparation of SOPs for the first generation advanced lung, gastro-intestinal tract and liver models that have been optimised for long term ENM exposures. This will be coupled to the initiation of work to further enhance the relevance of our models through the introduction of tissue flexing and fluid flow, so they more closely represent the human body. We will then evaluate the impact that has on improving the predictivity of the models for hazard testing.

The project will develop SOPs for advanced ecotoxicity bioassays supporting long-term ENM exposures across multiple organisms; whilst continuing to build on our understanding of long-term ENM exposure effects at the population level and across a food chain.

With our database in place we will now be able to expand the development of our in silico hazard screening toolbox in the coming year. Efforts will also focus on finalising the characterisation of test ENM to be applied in the project and to continue to progressing our understanding of the behaviour and fate of ENM in the biological systems under development.

Additionally, PATROLS will co-host a joint meeting at the OECD on Adverse Outcome Pathways to both support international advances, and feed into our future development of more refined and targeted in vitro assays with potentially higher predictive value.