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 aims to support and advance new human systems biology based approaches to chemical safety assessment. These approaches involve the development of new assays that use human cells or cells lines to characterize major “toxicity pathways,” dose response models to quantify when perturbations in toxicity pathways result in adverse events in cells and tissues, and in vitro to in vivo extrapolation tools to predict the level and duration of exposure that is likely to result in adverse events in humans. The outcome of this research will be a revolutionary change in toxicity testing by focusing on the prediction of true windows of safety for chemicals at which adverse events can be avoided based on quantitative data and human biology.
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.