Systems Toxicology

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Thomas Hartung
Erwin van Vliet
Joanna Jaworska
Leo Bonilla
Nigel Skinner
Russell Thomas


The need for a more mechanistic understanding of the ways in which chemicals modulate biological pathways is urgent if we are to identify and better assess safety issues relating to a wide range of substances developed by the pharmaceutical, chemical, agri-bio, and cosmetic industries. Omics technologies provide a valuable opportunity to refine existing methods and provide information for so-called integrated testing strategies via the creation of signatures of toxicity. By mapping these signatures to underlying pathways of toxicity, some of which have been identified by toxicologists over the last few decades, and bringing them together with pathway information determined from biochemistry and molecular biology, a “systems toxicology” approach will enable virtual experiments to be conducted that can improve the prediction of hazard and the assessment of compound toxicity.

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Hartung, T., van Vliet, E., Jaworska, J., Bonilla, L., Skinner, N. and Thomas, R. (2012) “Systems Toxicology”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 29(2), pp. 119–128. doi: 10.14573/altex.2012.2.119.
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