From “in vivo” studies to alternative methods. An update


Chemsafe, Colleretto Giacosa (TO), Italy

Recent advances in toxicological science, bioinformatics and biology have provided means to transform the traditional toxicology (based mainly on animal experimental studies) into a “predictive science”.

Traditional animal models are approximate models for human toxic responses: using their knowledge about physical, chemical and biological processes, the actual view adopt a hypothesis-driven, multi-disciplinary approach integrating “in vitro” methods with computational based methodologies (“in silico”) together with ‘omics’ approaches (e.g. proteomics, genomics and metabonomics: promising approaches to study impact of toxicants on expression of genes, proteins and cellular metabolites). This is aimed at identifying potential toxicants on the basis on an understanding of their mechanisms of biological action. These methods, sometimes referred to as “non-testing methods”, can be used to reduce our reliance on experimental testing, and in particular animal testing. In practice, these methods are used in Integrated Testing Strategies (ITS), along with experimental data generated by alternative (non-animal) tests, such as in vitro tests a ...