New paper discusses  in silico New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) and increasing use of ‘big data’ to advance human relevant research

A new paper by Safer Medicines scientific consultant Rebecca Ram, Dr. Domenico Gadaleta of the Mario Negri Institute, Italy and Dr. Tim Allen of the MRC Toxicology Unit, Cambridge discusses the progress of in-silico methods in New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) as well as the increasing need for use of ‘big data’ and artificial intelligence (AI) approaches in safety testing and biomedical research.

In silico, or computer-based research methods continue to emerge as part of a robust 21st century public health strategy, vital to improving the efficiency of preclinical drug discovery, as well as safety testing in the chemicals industry. They can be used alongside other methods e.g., human-based in vitro (cell or tissue derived) models as components of human-relevant New Approach Methodologies (NAMs).

In generic terms, ‘big data’ describes large quantities of ever-increasing data and the process of extracting and analysing information from them to reveal patterns, predictions or trends. Use of big data is considered vital to science, business, finance and technology. Advances in artificial intelligence continue to provide opportunities to analyse big data available from NAMs, to vastly improve health and medicines research. However, there is still an urgent need for wholescale recognition and investment in these approaches by scientists, governments and regulators.

The paper provides an overview on the progress of in silico methods including evidence of their use in NAMs case studies, as well as discussion of the increasing relevance of ‘big data’. Scientific and legislative drivers for change are also discussed, along with next steps to address challenges in achieving the regulatory acceptance needed to shift the research paradigm and advance human health.

The full paper can be accessed here The role of ‘big data’ and ‘in silico’ New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) in ending animal use – A commentary on progress – ScienceDirect

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