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ToxBank – Supporting Integrated Data Analysis and Servicing of Alternative Testing Methods in Toxicology

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An online toxicology database

Toxicology studies are vital for ensuring the safety of a huge range of products destined for human use. An online database with toxicology-related information on compounds and resources should help minimise animal experimentation.

Digital Economy

Currently, the majority of toxicology assays used for safety assessment rely on animal testing. The FP7-HEALTH SEURAT-1 programme has been designed to support the development of alternative human safety assessment strategies. These should provide higher predictive value at lower cost than traditional animal-based toxicity experiments, thereby offering a solid replacement option. The EU-funded TOXBANK (ToxBank – Supporting integrated data analysis and servicing of alternative testing methods in toxicology) initiative has contributed by providing suitable infrastructure. Project members established a centralised and standardised set of data resources, compounds and biological samples accompanied by standardised operating procedures and guidance. A dedicated ToxBank web-based warehouse for toxicity data management and modelling has been developed. This database provides public access to all experimental, processed data and protocols alongside relevant public information. Recently, investigations have also been uploaded into the data warehouse. TOXBANK also includes a compound database and repository of selected test compounds. The database is a collaborative effort with the MediaWiki platform, and selection criteria and standard operating procedures for data quality control and analyses can be found online. A total of 51 compounds with their chemical identity, adverse effects, toxicity mechanisms and therapeutic targets have been incorporated into the database. This data was extracted from literature reviews and enriched meta-analysis of multiple omics and functional data. The TOXBANK framework has also been enriched with a biomaterials section constituting a reference resource for relevant cells, cell lines and tissues for in vitro systemic toxicity research. Information on reagents and suppliers is included alongside an inventory of existing European biobanks and repositories. Collectively, the TOXBANK infrastructure will support the design and development of accurate in vitro toxicology assays for safety assessment purposes for use beyond the life of the project.

Keywords

Toxicology, online database, animal experimentation, safety assessment, TOXBANK

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