FutureTox IV Workshop Summary: Predictive Toxicology for Healthy Children

Toxicol Sci. 2021 Feb 8;kfab013. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfab013. Online ahead of print.


FutureTox IV, a Society of Toxicology (SOT) Contemporary Concepts in Toxicology (CCT) workshop, was held in November 2018. Building upon FutureTox I, II, and III, this conference focused on the latest science and technology for in vitro profiling and in silico modeling as it relates to predictive developmental and reproductive toxicity (DART). Publicly available high throughput screening data sets are now available for broad in vitro profiling of bioactivities across large inventories of chemicals. Coupling this vast amount of mechanistic data with a deeper understanding of molecular embryology and post-natal development lays the groundwork for using new approach methodologies (NAMs) to evaluate chemical toxicity, drug efficacy, and safety assessment for embryo-fetal development. NAM is a term recently adopted in reference to any technology, methodology, approach, or combination thereof that can be used to provide information on chemical hazard and risk assessment to avoid the use of intact animals (USEPA, 2018). There are challenges to implementing NAMs to evaluate chemicals for developmental toxicity compared with adult toxicity. This forum article reviews the 2018 workshop activities, highlighting challenges and opportunities for applying NAMs for adverse pregnancy outcomes (e.g., preterm labor, malformations, low birth weight) as well as disorders manifesting postnatally (e.g., neurodevelopmental impairment, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, fertility). DART is an important concern for different regulatory statutes and test guidelines. Leveraging advancements in such approaches and the accompanying efficiencies to detecting potential hazards to human development are the unifying concepts toward implementing NAMs in DART testing. Although use of NAMs for higher level regulatory decision making is still on the horizon, the conference highlighted novel testing platforms and computational models that cover multiple levels of biological organization, with the unique temporal dynamics of embryonic development, and novel approaches for estimating toxicokinetic parameters essential in supporting in vitro to in vivo extrapolation.

Keywords: in silico modeling; in vitro profiling; High-throughput screening; children’s environmental health; developmental and reproductive toxicity testing; new approach methodologies (NAMs); pediatric health.