Navigation Links
Genomic technologies to identify toxic chemicals should be developed
Date:10/9/2007

WASHINGTON -- A new report from the National Research Council recommends that government agencies enhance their efforts to incorporate genomic data into risk assessments of chemicals and medicines, and calls for a concerted effort to fully develop these methods' potential to protect public health. Chemicals and drugs often cause health problems by altering gene expression and other cell activity, and research on these processes -- called toxicogenomic research -- could eventually lead to more-sensitive toxicity tests that can supplement current tests, the report says. Toxicogenomic tests can also pinpoint individuals with genetic vulnerabilities and help them avoid chemicals or medications that might make them ill.

A major, coordinated effort approaching the scale of the Human Genome Project is needed both to develop these technologies fully and to address the ethical challenges they pose, such as protecting the confidentiality of individuals' genetic information, the report says. As part of this endeavor, which could be called a "human toxicogenomics initiative," a new database is needed to consolidate the massive amounts of data currently being generated by toxicogenomic studies.

"We have just begun to tap the potential for toxicogenomic technologies to improve risk assessment," said David Christiani, chair of the committee that wrote the report, and professor of occupational medicine and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. "To harvest public health benefits requires both greater investment in research and coordinated leadership."

Toxic substances and drugs can potentially disrupt gene processes within cells, thus disturbing the cells' healthy functioning. In addition, an individual's genetic variations can leave him or her particularly susceptible to the effects of chemicals or side effects of medications. For example, studies have shown that certain inherited gene variations may make some people more prone to symptoms such as nausea and impaired muscle function when exposed to a common pesticide, the report notes.

Using new toxicogenomic technologies, researchers can identify toxic processes as they unfold at an early, molecular stage, long before symptoms appear. This knowledge will support the development of tests that can more accurately predict whether a chemical will be hazardous, and at what dose. The tests' sensitivity also could lead to better prediction and prevention of damage to fetuses at critical stages of development. Finally, toxicogenomic studies can inform individuals about their particular genetic vulnerabilities.

Given the potential of toxicogenomics to reduce and prevent health risks, regulatory agencies should expand their research and enhance efforts to use these methods to aid risk assessments, the report says. It also calls on the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and other stakeholders in government, academia, and industry to explore the feasibility of implementing a concerted human toxicogenomics initiative.

A crucial part of this effort will be the creation of a single public database to collect toxicogenomic data and integrate it with data on health effects generated by traditional toxicology studies, the report says. Such a database will let scientists see connections between activity at a molecular level and the symptoms that result, and decipher how multiple genetic reactions at the cellular level can combine to cause adverse outcomes. New studies will also be needed to generate data on the genomic effects of chemicals for which traditional toxicity data already exist. And a national "biorepository" for physical samples -- human blood and tissue, for example -- will be useful for future toxicogenomic studies. Every effort should be made to use samples already being collected for other research, the report urges.

The generation of data from such studies, and toxicogenomic research in general, raises a host of social, legal, and ethical questions that the new initiative needs to address -- including protecting the privacy of genetic and health data, the report says. Individuals might decide against genetic testing if there is a danger that health insurers or employers could access their information and use it to deny them insurance or work. Safeguarding the privacy of this data will be increasingly challenging as the use of electronic medical records grows.

Improved legislation is needed to protect the privacy, confidentiality, and security of health information anywhere it is collected, stored, and transmitted -- not just at organizations already subject to privacy rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The decision to learn about one's genetic vulnerabilities should rest with the individual, the report says. And except in rare circumstances, people who choose to get tested to learn about their particular genetic susceptibilities to a workplace chemical should be allowed to decide for themselves whether to accept the risks involved in employment.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sara Frueh
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
The National Academies
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Upcoming Hemogenomics Centre in Bangalore
2. Evoprinter, a multigenomic comparative tool for rapid identification of functionally important DNA
3. International Conference On Malaria - Laveran To Genomics
4. LINK Applied Genomics Programme Promises To Revolutionize Healthcare Systems
5. Nutrigenomics here comes a team to better your future!
6. Genomic tests for better cancer treatment
7. Web-Based Genomics Tool Designed to Help Predict Disease Susceptibility
8. AutoGenomics Addresses TB Crisis With a Genetic Drug Resistance Test
9. Pharmacogenomic Market Gaining Greater Acceptance Across Europe
10. Researchers Develop Technologies to Devour Food Pathogens
11. Researchers Study Safety of Assisted Reproductive Technologies
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/26/2017)... KS (PRWEB) , ... February ... ... StaffBridge sets a new technology standard in staffing, scheduling, and reporting for ... monitor, and predict activity throughout the entire staffing process. StaffBridge technology improves ...
(Date:2/26/2017)... , ... February 26, 2017 , ... ... after receiving cognitive rehabilitation, according to a study released today at the 1st ... cognitive rehabilitation programs are proven to be effective in improving cognitive function in ...
(Date:2/25/2017)... ... February 25, 2017 , ... FCPX users now have the ability ... Film Studios. With ProSharpen Color users have total control over sharpening amount, sharpening radius, ... range. With color spectrum tools users can visually see the color range effected with ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... February 24, 2017 , ... Houston ... options at his office, Antoine Dental Center. Currently, patients can get single dental ... may apply, but patients can learn more about these offers by contacting Antoine ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , ... February 24, 2017 , ... ... business development, education, networking and recognition opportunities as well as advocacy for the ... in Holmdel, NJ on February 23. The Council's Innovation Forecast event highlights ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/27/2017)... STOCKHOLM , Feb 27, 2017 Period October – ... Operating result amounted to SEK -16.4 (-6.4) million ... -0.27 per share (-0.22) before and after dilution Cash flow ... ... amounted to SEK 0.4 (0.4) million Operating result amounted to ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Wireless Health Market ... the next decade to reach approximately $330.5 billion by 2025. ... all the given segments on global as well as regional levels ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... and Markets has announced the addition of the "Dry eye Drugs ... ... Drugs Price Analysis and Strategies - 2016, provides drug pricing data and ... following questions: What are the key drugs ... in the Global Dry eye market? What are the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: