Within the initiative “FP7-HEALTH-2010-Alternative-Testing-Strategies” the project NOTOX will develop and establish a spectrum of systems biological tools for toxicity prediction. These include experimental and computational methods for i) organotypic human cell cultures suitable for long term toxicity testing and ii) the identification and analysis of pathways of toxicological relevance.
Systems biological tools in NOTOX comprise experimental methods using organotypic human cell cultures and computational tools. NOTOX will generate own experimental data to develop and validate predictive mathematical and bioinformatic models characterizing long term toxicity responses. Cellular activities will be monitored continuously by comprehensive analysis of released metabolites, peptides and proteins and by the estimation of metabolic fluxes using 13C labelling techniques (fluxomics). At selected time points a part of the cells will be removed for in-depth structural (3D-optical and electron microscopy tomography), transcriptomic, epigenomic, metabolomic, proteomic and fluxomic characterizations. When applicable, cells derived from human stem cells (hESC or iPS) and available human organ simulating systems or even a multi-organ platform developed within the SEURAT cluster will be investigated using developed methods.
Together with curated literature and genomic data these toxicological data will be organised in a toxicological database. Physiological data including metabolism of test compounds will be incorporated into large-scale computer models that are based on material balancing and kinetics. Various “-omics” data and 3D structural information from organotypic cultures will be integrated using correlative bioinformatic tools. These data also serve as a basis for large scale mathematical models. The overall objectives are to identify cellular and molecular signatures allowing prediction of long term toxicity, to design experimental systems for the identification of predictive endpoints and to integrate these into causal computer models.