The Tox21 program has a 10-year track record of developing cutting-edge technology to better assess chemical toxicity in humans. In August 2017, the 10th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use dedicated a panel discussion to this milestone.
In his address to the World Congress meeting, Rick Paules, Ph.D., looked ahead to the next 5 years. Paules is the acting head of the NTP Biomolecular Screening Branch and serves as the NTP lead for the multiagency Tox21 program. Over the next 5 years, Tox21 scientists will concentrate on new and emerging alternatives, including computational models and 3D, organ-like model systems. Such alternatives could help address challenges for high-throughput screening, which include processing volatile chemicals and predicting dose-response relationships. Other priorities include incorporating individual variability, dose-response characteristics, and pharmacokinetics.
A new fact sheet captures milestones from the first decade of Tox21, including the more than 200 peer-reviewed articles published by the Tox21 researchers. Many of those papers shared results of robotic high-throughput screening assays of nearly 10,000 chemicals, performed at the National Center for Advancing Translational Science. These chemicals, referred to as the Tox21 library, are used in consumer products, industrial processes, agriculture, and drug development. Managing this library is a key Tox21 priority for the coming years.Four federal agencies share the achievements of Tox21: