Assessing the safety of potential medicines remains immensely challenging. One major difficulty is understanding how well toxicity in animal tests predicts toxicity in humans. A lot of data on toxicity exists, but it is scattered across diverse public and private sources and stored in different formats.
The goal of the eTRANSAFE project is to develop a powerful data integration infrastructure (the Knowledge Hub) and use this as the basis for computer-based tools for use in drug development. The infrastructure would be flexible and expandable, and would draw on the latest technologies to deliver advanced solutions for data sharing, interoperability and exploitation. An ‘honest broker’ will ensure that confidential data would remain confidential, and overarching policies and guidelines will address ethical and legal issues such as the secondary use of human data. A large part of the project will be devoted to the creation of in silico (computer-based) tools for data mining and visualisation and, crucially, the prediction of potential toxicity.
The project outputs will increase the efficiency of preclinical toxicity studies, most notably in the pharmaceutical industry, and this in turn will help to speed up drug development. In addition, as the tools are computer-based, their use will contribute to a reduction in the use of animals in research. Finally, the project will contribute to the FAIR (‘findable, accessible, interoperable, re-useable) data principles.