After years of frustration with traditional methods for testing the toxicity of chemicals in the environment, scientists are working to adapt faster, simpler screening methods that do not require animals, now used by the pharmaceutical industry to identify potential drug candidates, according to an article scheduled for the August 6 issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN).
The article, written by C&EN Senior Editor Celia Henry Arnaud, explains that animal testing long has been the gold standard for environmental toxicology. But such tests take years to complete, can't always be confidently extrapolated to humans, and require the use of laboratory animals. As a result, only a handful of commercial chemicals have gone through the complete battery of tests used by the Federal Government's National Toxicology Program in its most thorough toxicology investigations.
Arnaud explains how environmental toxicologists are eyeing an attractive alternative -- the so-called high-throughput screening methods that pharmaceutical companies use to find potential drug candidates within libraries of compounds. "If successful, such assays may in the short term reduce the animal toxicity tests that are necessary and in the long term replace animal tests entirely," the article states. It points out, however, that formidable challenges lie ahead in adapting those tests for accurately predicting which commercial chemicals are potential human health threats.
Article: "Toward Toxicity Testing Without Animals: High-throughput methods from pharma could reduce need for animals when assessing toxicity of chemicals in the environment"
Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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