ToxBank data warehouse on ChemicalWatch
An EU project called ToxBank has launched its “data warehouse”, containing detailed test data from Seurat-1, the EU’s largest collaborative project on alternative testing (CW 8 May 2014). The data warehouse is publicly available upon request.
The database brings together data from a wide variety of experiments to allow an “integrated analysis of the evidence”, says Barry Hardy, ToxBank scientific coordinator from technology development company, Douglas Connect.
“The ToxBank data warehouse has started by supporting Seurat-1, but we all also want to include all other useful public data,” says Dr Hardy. He expects that the amount of data in the warehouse will continue to grow so that it will “really guide mechanistic work”.
It currently contains information on “gold” or reference compounds from Seurat-1, which have documented liver, kidney or cardio toxicity. The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre has also added complete data sets from a 2012 liver toxicity study, which screened literature to identify toxicity pathways and their key biological events.
The ToxBank team is sourcing data from a Japanese toxicogenomics data resource called Open TG-Gates and has been working with US high-throughput screening programmes ToxCast and Tox21, with plans to add some of their data to the warehouse (CW 24 July 2014).
The US EPA's ToxCast has also incorporated Seurat-1’s reference compounds into its testing programme, “so there will be new data from ToxCast”, adds Dr Hardy.
The ToxBank team works with scientists in the early stages of a research project to make sure that data is described in a “quality-driven and correct” format, says Dr Hardy. All data in the warehouse must also be accompanied by a test protocol.
“This allows other researchers to carry out their own analysis and also helps to gain regulatory acceptance,” says Dr Hardy. “We have to put a bigger investment into organising data in this way, but it brings test development much closer to having industrial and regulatory use.”
The ToxBank team has also spent time working on combining confidentiality with data access. Institutions can upload early research but withhold access for a while, for example, during publication writing or patent filing. However, those searching the database will be able to access abstracts and contact the original researchers, perhaps with a view to collaborating.