Protecting the Consumer: Can "Omics" Keep the Promise?

Sunday, February 21, 2010: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Room 5A (San Diego Convention Center)
The toxicology testing world is undergoing a major transformation. Raised social and political expectations for a better environment and a healthier life are demanding that industry delivers more evidence that their products are safe. Combine this with an economic climate that needs stimulation rather than restriction, the emergence of completely new classes of substances such as nanomaterials, and heightened public concern surrounding testing using animals or human embryonic stem cells -- it is not unreasonable to think that something has to give. The scientific community has responded, however, with the belief that the answer lies in taking a more science-based approach to risk assessment. The push is toward a deeper understanding of how a substance interacts with our bodies and our environment by analyzing the chain of molecular and biological events that lead to undesirable outcomes. At the heart of this revolution are modern technology-based test methods that are capable of producing vast amounts of data describing the detailed workings of an organism from the molecular to the physiological level. Commonly referred to as "omics" approaches, they may be the key to us eventually understanding the machinery of life. But are we still being seduced by the promise rather than the reality? Are we really capable of exploiting these extraordinarily powerful tools? Is the paradigm really shifting for regulatory safety testing, and how much of a role is "omics" playing?
Aidan Gilligan, European Commission, Joint Research Center (JRC)
Elke Anklam, JRC Institute for Health and Consumer Protection
Ivan Rusyn, University of North Carolina
The Role of Genomics in Mode-of-Action Based Risk Assessment
Maurice Whelan, JRC Institute for Health and Consumer Protection
Getting More from Your Cell: High-Tech Approaches for In Vitro Testing