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Agilent Technologies and Johns Hopkins University to Research Novel Toxicity Pathways for Embryonic Brain Development Using Metabolomics

Thomas HartungAgilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) and the Agilent Foundation today announced that Dr. Thomas Hartung has received an Agilent Thought Leader Award in support of his research for the use of toxicity pathways to predict developmental neurotoxicity. This work could help identify possible contributions of chemicals to disorders such as autism and attention hyperactivity disorders. Dr. Hartung recently was named a leading toxicologist by the science journal Nature.

The award includes Agilent Foundation funding for research and a company donation of instruments worth more than $500,000 to the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Hartung, director of CAAT, will focus his research on the identification of novel toxicity pathways by combining two promising cell culture models with emerging metabolomics technology.

“This award makes cutting edge technology available for a project in the core of implementing the vision of a new regulatory toxicology,” says Hartung. “Problems of the 21st century can only be solved with 21st century technologies.”

“The information we need to fully understand the toxic effects of chemicals on humans cannot be obtained using traditional animal models. We are not 70-kilogram rats,” adds Hartung.

The identified pathways will be annotated in a public database the scientific community can use for further mechanistic studies. This will be of particular benefit to the pharmaceutical and chemical industry to assist with identifying how drug compounds and chemicals interact with human biochemical pathways. In the case of drug development, this information will allow for better toxicological assessment of promising drug lead compounds at early preclinical stages, reducing costs and time.

The field of toxicology is undergoing rapid change prompted by the 2007 National Research Council’s report, ‘Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy.’ The report aims to move toxicity testing to work with human cells and computer modeling instead of animal tests to improve the prediction of human adverse effects. This is considered the way forward to assess the tens of thousands of yet untested chemicals in the environment and consumer products. The study supported with the award is piloting this approach.

“The research will have great impact on the field of toxicology by performing a proof of principle study for the use of toxicity pathways to predict developmental neurotoxicity,” said Mark Vossenaar, senior director of strategic marketing for Agilent’s Life Sciences Group. “Working closely with one of the leading research institutions in the world, we believe the results will demonstrate the feasibility of LC/MS based metabolomics in toxicity studies.”

Agilent’s new Thought Leader Program promotes fundamental advances in the life sciences by contributing financial support, products and/or expertise to the research of influential thought leaders.

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FRAME Training School in Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis
May 31-June 2, 2017
Saskatoon, Canada

Advances in Cell and Tissue Culture 2017
May 22-24, 2017
Manchester, UK

CAAT Academy
In Vitro Skin and Eye Models Hands-on Training
June 1-2 2017
Brussels, Belgium

CAAT Academy
Tools for Read-Across
June 15-16, 2017
Helsinki, Finland

ecopa SSCT Workshop 2017
June 14-16, 2017
Helsinki, Finland
Thomas Hartung will deliver a keynote address

CAAT Academy
Updates on Hepatotoxicity AOP Landscape and on the ADME Field - Season 2
June 22-23, 2017
Rennes, France

9th Euro-Global Summit on Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology
June 22-24, 2017
Paris, France
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6th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology (ASCCT)
September 21-22
College Park, MD

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10th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences
August 20-24, 2017
Seattle, Washington

CAAT Academy
Hands-on Training in Quantitative Human Cell and Effect-based In Vitro Bioanalysis for Assessing Endocrine-disrupting Compounds (EDCs)
September 7-8. 2017
Amsterdam
 

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