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Toxicogenomics: the Future of Toxicology?

Posted: October 30, 2007

Though it can still be considered an emerging analytical method, the concept of toxicogenomics as the future of toxicology was recently raised at the 38th Annual Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association Fall Symposium. The technique, which profiles the genetic-level effects of chemical substances on living tissue in order to characterize the material’s activity, is the subject of a forthcoming report from the National Academies of Sciences (available here both in paperback and free PDF).

“Applications of Toxicogenomic Technologies to Predictive Toxicology and Risk Assessment,” prepared by 16 scientists under the direction of the National Research Council, notes that technical hurdles in the technique have largely been overcome and that toxicogenomics can now move forward, refining standardization and validation. In addition, the method is finding increased usage, including within the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

Of the report’s release, NIEHS associate director and director of the office of risk assessment research Christopher Portier said, “Using toxicogenomic technologies will open the door for public health decision makers who need to decide in a timely and accurate manner what chemicals are safe and which ones are not.”