During globally difficult times, where conflict and division seems to be the norm, it is worth emphasising the values of scientific endeavours based on mutual respect, collaboration and sharing.

eTRANSAFE is all about “sharing the unshareable” across completely different institutions and stakeholders, many times with conflicting interests. Hopefully it can be an inspiration and a reminder of profound European values, how union leads to progress, and that we are always going farther together.

The only war worth fighting is the one for the progress of science, knowledge, global harmony and human cooperation on all fronts regardless of geographical, political, social and economic considerations.

The eTRANSAFE consortium members met to discuss the project progress and next steps at the 14th Consortium Meeting held on Thursday and Friday 24-25 of February 2022.  

The latest advances in the development of the eTRANSAFE system, ToxHub, were at the centre of this virtual 2-day event.

The first day evolved around use cases for the testing and improvement of the system and for advancing its translational component, the use of preclinical data to predict human safety. The day concluded with an update from the project work packages, with an overview of recent and upcoming activities.

The second day of the meeting brought the audience a series of short sessions providing a closer look on some of the ongoing work, such as the successful virtual control groups initiative that has the aim to reduce the use of control animals in toxicology studies (link), and the collaboration with the UK-based NC3Rs for the development of a virtual dog (link).

The meeting finished with feedback from the project external Scientific Advisory Board, with appraisals and useful recommendations for next steps until the next meeting scheduled for June 2022.

We thank the consortium and SAB members for their contributions to this event and look forward to meeting soon face-to-face!

One of the main goals of eTRANSAFE is to significantly contribute to the application of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) guiding principles for more ethical use of animals in research. An important activity towards this aim is the recent collaboration established with the UK-based NC3Rs around their Mega CRACK IT Challenge for Virtual Second Species launched in Summer 2021. 

This three-phase Challenge aims to apply advanced computation and mathematical modelling approaches to develop a suite of virtual dog tissues and organs to model toxicological endpoints for new chemical entities. The final goal of the Challenge is to replace dog as a study species in non-clinical studies for the assessment of the efficacy and potential toxic effects of drugs before first use in humans.

eTRANSAFE has teamed up with NC3Rs for the Phase I of the Challenge awarded in January that will go on until September 2022 (link). eTRANSAFE acts as a data provider, making available toxicology study data donated by several project EFPIA partners, who support this CRACK IT Challenge. The goal is to use these data to enable the development of in silico approaches by the awarded team (link), led by Dr Stephan Schaller (esqLABS GmbH).  

A new version of the eTRANSAFE preclinical text mining system, PretoxTM 2.0, was presented in a virtual workshop on the 22nd of November 2021 by members of the project Work Package 5. 

The workshop was organized as a brainstorming session to obtain end-user feedback from toxicology experts. The insights gathered during the event will be used to feed the continuous improvements of the preclinical text mining system and will be incorporated in subsequent versions.

(more…)

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