Stage One of $1 Million Toxicity Testing Challenge Closes Soon!

By Rachel McMonagle

Close-up of medicine dropper and liquid

Hurry!  Stage one of the three-phased Transform Tox Testing Challenge closes on April 8, 2016!

The challenge is part of EPA’s commitment to advancing chemical safety science, ushering in a new generation of faster, more efficient, and far less costly ways to screen chemicals for toxicity. For example, our ToxCast program uses advances in high-throughput screening technology to rank and prioritize thousands of chemicals with the end goal of identifying chemicals that may have potential health effects. A limitation is that cells used in high-throughput screening sometimes act differently than cells in a moving, breathing human body. Why?  Cells used in current high-throughput screening assays do not typically possess metabolic competence, or ability to perform all life-sustaining chemical transformations that occur within cells of living things. This means that these assays may miss chemicals that are metabolized to a more toxic form.

Striving for the most accurate toxicity testing possible, EPA scientists want to add “metabolic competence” to a broad array of high-throughput screening assays, closing the gap between what they reveal and how the body actually responds to chemicals.

To incentivize innovation and drive the field to a commercial solution, EPA partnered with other federal organizations, equally as excited about tackling the issue – the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the National Toxicology Program headquartered at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Together, on January 8, 2016, this partnership challenged the world to add metabolic competence to high-throughput screening assays by offering up to $1,000,000 for the best solutions.  The deadline for that challenge closes this Friday, so if you want a chance to innovate while making the world a safer place, please hurry!


About the author: Rachel McMonagle works as part of the Innovation Team in the EPA Office of Research and Development.

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