Scientists are using high-speed, automated screening technologies, called high-throughput screening (HTS) assays, to expose living cells or isolated proteins to chemicals. Current HTS assays measure toxicity of the chemicals themselves, but do not test for metabolites, which are altered forms of chemicals produced as the body breaks down the original compound and are sometimes more toxic than the original chemical.
To help capture that missing information, NTP and partners launched the Transform Toxicity Testing Challenge in January 2016. The "Tox Test Challenge" asked teams of scientists to develop techniques to retrofit existing HTS assays to incorporate processes that reflect how the body metabolizes chemicals. After selecting semi-finalists in May 2017, the partners named the five stage two winners on November 1, 2017.
The winners produced practical designs for new technologies that can rapidly test whether some of the thousands of chemicals in use can harm human health: