Custom Search


Wednesday 01 December 2004

Regulatory immunotoxicology: does the published evidence support mandatory nonclinical immune function screening in drug development?

By: Snodin DJ.

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 2004 Dec;40(3):336-55

Recent immunotoxicity guidance documents from the EU CHMP and the US FDA apply significantly different weightings to immune function testing; whereas the former mandates (as a starting point) incorporation of immune function tests (IFTs) to screen for immunotoxic potential in sub-chronic rodent toxicity studies, the more cautious 'for cause' FDA approach recommends the use of IFTs only when warranted by evidence obtained from conventional nonclinical and/or clinical studies. Conclusions from detailed evaluations of several key drugs, including salmeterol and some opioids, challenge the notion that data on these examples support the need for IFTs to detect unintended immunosuppression. Given the virtual absence of convincing pharmaceutical examples and the rarity of unintended immunosuppression, routine immune function testing of all new pharmaceuticals is not considered justified. Resources currently being employed in this manner in an attempt to detect a seemingly rare phenomenon would appear to be better applied to the development of reliable predictive assays for drug hypersensitivity, which is known to cause significant patient morbidity. Any moves towards a globally harmonised guideline that recommends the use of concern-based IFTs, need ideally to be accompanied by the establishment of appropriate historical control reference intervals and interpretation criteria to support a reliable weight-of-evidence approach to data evaluation.

Use of this site is subject to the following terms of use