Title: Chemical Similarity and Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC) Approaches: Report of an ECB Workshop held in Ispra, November 2005
Publication Year: 2007
JRC N°: JRC35474
Other Identifiers: EUR 22657 EN
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC35474
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: There are many national, regional and international programmes – either regulatory or voluntary – to assess the hazards or risks of chemical substances to humans and the environment. The first step in making a hazard assessment of a chemical is to ensure that there is adequate information on each of the endpoints. If adequate information is not available then additional data is needed to complete the dataset for this substance. For reasons of resources and animal welfare, it is important to limit the number of tests that have to be conducted, where this is scientifically justifiable. One approach is to consider closely related chemicals as a group, or chemical category, rather than as individual chemicals. In a category approach, data for chemicals and endpoints that have been already tested are used to estimate the hazard for untested chemicals and endpoints. Categories of chemicals are selected on the basis of similarities in biological activity which is associated with a common underlying mechanism of action. A homologous series of chemicals exhibiting a coherent trend in biological activity can be rationalised on the basis of a constant change in structure. This type of grouping is relatively straightforward. The challenge lies in identifying the relevant chemical structural and physicochemical characteristics that enable more sophisticated groupings to be made on the basis of similarity in biological activity and hence purported mechanism of action. Linking two chemicals together and rationalising their similarity with reference to one or more endpoints has been very much carried out on an ad hoc basis. Even with larger groups, the process and approach is ad hoc and based on expert judgement. There still appears to be very little guidance about the tools and approaches for grouping chemicals systematically. In November 2005, the ECB Workshop on Chemical Similarity and Thresholds of Toxicological Concern (TTC) Approaches was convened to identify the available approaches that currently exist to encode similarity and how these can be used to facilitate the grouping of chemicals. This report aims to capture the main themes that were discussed. In particular, it outlines a number of different approaches that can facilitate the formation of chemical groupings in terms of the context under consideration and the likely information that would be required. Grouping methods were divided into one of four classes – knowledge-based, analogue-based, unsupervised, and supervised. A flowchart was constructed to attempt to capture a possible work flow to highlight where and how these approaches might be best applied.
JRC Directorate:Institute for Health and Consumer Protection Historical Collection

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