novel open access web portal for integrating mechanistic and toxicogenomic study results | Toxicological Sciences | Oxford Academic
peter.suber's bookmarks 2019-04-28
Abstract: Applying toxicogenomics to improving the safety profile of drug candidates and crop protection molecules is most useful when it identifies relevant biological and mechanistic information that highlights risks and informs risk mitigation strategies. Pathway-based approaches, such as GSEA, integrate toxicogenomic data with known biological process and pathways. Network methods help define unknown biological processes and offer data reduction advantages. Integrating the two approaches would improve interpretation of toxicogenomic information. Barriers to the routine application of these methods in genome-wide transcriptomic studies include a need for “hands-on” computer programming experience, the selection of one or more analysis methods (e.g. pathway analysis methods), the sensitivity of results to algorithm parameters, and challenges in linking differential gene expression to variation in safety outcomes. To facilitate adoption and reproducibility of gene expression analysis in safety studies, we have developed Collaborative Toxicogenomics (CTox), an open-access integrated web portal using the Django web framework. The software, developed with the Python programming language, is modular, extensible and implements “best-practice” methods in computational biology. New study results are compared to over 4,000 rodent liver experiments from Drug Matrix and open TG-GATEs. A unique feature of the software is the ability to integrate clinical chemistry and histopathology-derived outcomes with results from gene expression studies, leading to relevant mechanistic conclusions. We describe its application by analyzing the effects of several toxicants on liver gene expression and exemplify application to predicting toxicity study outcomes upon chronic treatment from expression changes in acute-duration studies.