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Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports on the trend toward predictive toxicogenomics

New Rochelle, NY, November 19, 2008Biotech scientists increasingly are applying genomics technologies to toxicology research to better understand the effects of novel drug candidates on a variety of organ systems, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN). They are especially interested in figuring out a new compound's mechanism of action and eventually developing a predictive toxicology technique, according to the November 15 issue of GEN. (

"Toxicogenomics, which is essentially gene-expression profiling, is the next step up from basic toxicology studies," says John Sterling, Editor-in-Chief of GEN. "It is a more complex approach, and it will take some time before it becomes a regular tool in the technology armentarium of drug discovery and pharmaceutical scientists."

So far most companies are focusing on toxicogenomics primarily as a method to explore mechanisms of action rather than to predict toxicity. Roche, for example, uses toxicogenomics to generate hypotheses when trying to unravel the cellular machinery underlying toxicity responses, which then are tested more thoroughly using other assays. Novartis is employing known toxic compounds to develop the techniques to understand the mechanistic actions of toxicity. Such screening led to the recent validation of biomarkers for kidney toxicity.

Groups such as The C-Path Predictive Safety Testing Consortium are examining published toxicogenomics multiple gene biomarkers or signatures and trying to validate those signatures across laboratories.


Contact: John Sterling
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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