From the Chairperson

Dear Colleagues,

Scandinavian Society for Cell Toxicology (SSCT) is a society of individual members, associations and companies with knowledge and experience within the field of cell toxicology. SSCT promotes basic and applied research in in vitro cytotoxicology, chiefly in Nordic countries and creates possibilities for education and scientific communication by arranging workshops and conferences. SSCT was established in 1983 as a result of Dr. Björn Ekwall´s pioneer work in the field of in vitro toxicology. He performed extensive research indicating that cell cultures could be used to evaluate the toxic effects of chemicals. He formulated (1983) the “basal cytotoxicity concept” which has been important for the progress of in vitro toxicology (see In 1970s the general opinion was that `reliable toxicology` had to be fully based on animal testing. Today we know that animal experiments may, in many cases, produce results with no or only limited relevance to man. Furthermore, animal experiments are also regarded ethically questionable, and their use is restricted by some regulatory guidelines. The global vision today is that toxicity testing should be performed by using human cellbased tissue/organ models, where the toxicity is assessed by identifying and quantifying the toxic effects of chemicals on critical cellular pathways – exactly in line with Dr. Ekwall´s vision.

For a method to be taken into routine use or accepted as a toxicity test for regulatory purposes, the performance and reproducibility have to be confirmed, which results in validated solid methods. Thus, already in the mid-eighties, Dr. Ekwall initiated the international Multicenter Evaluation of In Vitro Cytotoxicity (MEIC) project, where a large number of chemicals was tested in in vitro, with the aim of evaluating the usefulness of in vitro tests for the estimation of human acute systemic toxicity.

As shown above, it can easily be concluded that SSCT has always been in the front line of the development of toxicity tests and respective research. I can sincerely assure that SSCT is a visionary society, whose significance is constantly increasing.

Everyone interested in the field of in vitro cellular toxicology is welcome to join SSCT. Membership application forms and contact information will be found on this web page.

Tuula Heinonen