Current Research Activities
The Changing Landscape
Chemical safety sciences have reached a tipping point. The 2007 NAS report, Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century, sees a future in which toxicity testing will be conducted in human cells or cell lines by evaluating perturbations of cellular responses in a suite of toxicity pathway assays using high-throughput robotic-assisted methodologies. Dose response modeling requires computational systems models of the circuitry underlying the toxicity pathways. In vitro to in vivo extrapolations rely on pharmacokinetic models to relate the concentrations at which effects are seen in the in vitro assays to anticipated human exposures. These new approaches will use fewer animals, improve knowledge of modes of action, enhance human relevance, provide higher chemical throughput than is possible with current toxicity testing strategies focused on high dose studies in live animals, and significantly improve product stewardship and responsible care efforts.
The Hamner Institute for Chemical Safety Sciences is committed to conducting key mechanistic and computational research to accelerate implementation of the new NAS report. The report provides the opportunity for an important paradigm shift in toxicity testing and chemical safety sciences. However, dose response and in vitro to in vivo extrapolation tools need to be developed alongside the in vitro toxicity pathway tests to ensure the wise use of these data in the risk assessment process. Multi-faceted research approaches will be pursued at The Hamner using prototype compounds to illustrate how risk assessments can be improved by application of these alternative in vitro methods.
Human Toxicology Project Consortium
This coalition was created to facilitate the global shift to a cell response pathway paradigm for chemical safety assessments, which holds great promise for more rapid predictions of human outcomes while superceding traditional animal testing for environmental agents and pharmaceuticals.