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Posted: Mar 12, 2012

BioMAP Profiling Provides Insights into Toxicity of Nanomaterials, Failed Drugs and Environmental Chemicals

(Nanowerk News) Assessments of the biological activity of various nanomaterials and chemicals in the context of primary human cell biology were presented today at the annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology by scientists from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and BioSeek, LLC. The presented findings further demonstrate the value of BioMAP® human primary cell assay systems for both identifying critical bioactivities and potentially adverse effects of drugs, new materials and other compounds in a high-throughput format.
"Through our work with EPA, BioMAP is yielding a rich harvest of biological information on a wide variety of environmental and other chemicals and their potential effects on human health," said Ellen Berg, Ph.D., General Manager of BioSeek. "In addition to helping meet the goals of the ToxCast Program, which are aimed at developing high-throughput screening methods capable of predicting chemical toxicities, this information is continuing to enrich our BioMAP database. We view that resource as an increasingly valuable tool that can be mined to better understand the activities and potential safety of our pharmaceutical partners' compounds in the context of human biology, prior to undertaking costly human clinical trials."
In an oral presentation by EPA, various nanomaterials with varying cores and their ion and micro counterparts were tested for cytotoxicity in various cell types, for transcription factor activation in HepG2cells, and for protein bioactive profiling in eight BioMAP human primary cell systems at concentrations equivalent to human exposures of 24 hours to 45 years. Analysis showed that nanomaterial cores are critical to bioactivities and their effects are often similar to those of related ions. Comparing test results on nanomaterials to reference profiles of other compounds in the BioMAP database suggested further molecular targets and pathways affected by the tested nanomaterials that weren't directly measured by the assays performed.
A poster presented by EPA and BioSeek collaborators discussed the biological profiling of the ToxCast Phase II Chemical Library in BioSeek's primary human cell co-culture systems. The Phase II library contains 1060 unique compounds including failed pharmaceuticals donated by industry partners, reference compounds known to be endocrine disrupters, carcinogens or reproductive/developmental toxicants, and other widely used chemicals, food and cosmetic additives, and proposed alternatives to current industrially used chemicals The chemicals were tested in a panel of BioMAP co-culture systems and classified based on their ability to cause overt cytotoxicity in various cells types and on their bioactivity profiles when compared to reference compounds.
About BioMAP
BioSeek's proprietary BioMAP technology platform bridges the gap between in vitro and in vivo testing to connect primary human cell-based assay data to clinically relevant results. Compounds tested in BioMAP Assay Systems generate biological activity profiles that are compared to those of thousands of well-characterized agents in our proprietary BioMAP database, using a variety of predictive computational analyses. BioMAP Assay Systems are physiologically relevant and concurrently provide multifactorial readouts relevant to compound efficacy and safety. Thus, a compound's detected activities effectively preview in vivo results and forecast potential clinical outcomes. The BioMAP technology platform is consistently reproducible within and between assays, is high throughput, and supports drug discovery programs from library screening to lead optimization and candidate selection. For more information on BioMAP, please visit our website at
About the US EPA ToxCast™ Program
The U.S. EPA ToxCast™ Program is developing approaches to predict chemical toxicity using data from high-throughput and high content in vitro assays. The goal of ToxCast™ is to develop and verify "toxicity signatures," which are algorithms using in vitro and in silico data to predict in vivo toxicities. Phase I of ToxCast™ has produced data from >300 chemicals, ~500 in vitro assays and ~100 in vivo endpoints, providing a powerful dataset for evaluating the applicability of various analytic approaches for predicting the potential for an adverse response. The initial results from Phase I of the ToxCast™ program were presented on May 14-15, 2009 at the First ToxCast™ Data Analysis Summit held in Research Triangle Park, NC. Phase II of the ToxCast™ program will expand on and verify the ability of this approach to predict potential human toxicity. In Phase III, ToxCast™ will expand the list to thousands of environmental chemicals, delivering an affordable, science-based system for decision-makers to prioritize chemicals for more detailed toxicological evaluations.
About BioSeek
BioSeek, LLC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Asterand plc (LSE: ATD), a leading supplier of high quality human tissue and tissue-based services. BioSeek improves the success rate of pharmaceutical research and development by integrating human biology from the earliest stages of drug discovery onward through its unique BioMAP® predictive human-based models. Our mission is to accelerate target discovery and drug compound validation and enable our clients to take safer and more effective drugs into the market. For more information about Asterand and BioSeek, please visit
Source: BioSeek (press release)
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