Programs

Centre for Predictive Human Model system


About the Centre
The Centre for Predictive Human Model Systems is India's first Centre dedicated to enable a shift in science by focusing on 21st century new-approach methodologies instead of animal models for research. The Centre aims to prioritise investment in human-based, non-animal methodologies in life sciences research in India. With the aim of breaking silos and forging partnerships, the Centre is a joint initiative by Atal Incubation Centre - Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (AIC - CCMB) and Humane Society International India (HSI/India).
Why was the Centre created?
Basic and clinical research has been based on various animal models such as mice, rats, monkeys, fish, worms, flies etc. While the genome of many of these animal models find similarities with humans, it is increasingly emerging the differences between the species contribute to the complexities and subtleties of the human biology. With advances in toxicogenomics, bioinformatics, cell and molecular biology, and computational tools, the global scientific community is gearing towards developing model systems that are relevant to humans. These systems can be further used to develop predictive models to understand human development, disease biology, and toxicity responses. The Centre aims to promote the development and application of human-relevant methodologies and establish India as a key player in this field.

Objectives

  • To develop the centre as a scientific and policy think – tank which represents the growing body on human-based, non – animal science on a scientific and policy level
  • Research, publish, and support open access publication and scientific reviews that explore concepts of Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs), microphysiological, computational, and other human – specific models across various diseases with recommendations for new research direction in India
  • Facilitate training of Adverse Outcome Pathways across research and education institutions in India
  • Conduct workshops, conferences and roundtables on research and policy of non – animal methodologies
  • To develop a network of Indian scientists to share information and cooperate in promoting a shift in research focus and funding in India
  • Engage with policy making and funding bodies to promote investment in a human-focused paradigm

 

Integrating Cancer Pathways: India

APPLY TO BECOME A PART OF THE FUTURE IN BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH AND TOXICOLOGY


Currently, there are tens and thousands of chemicals in the environment that need testing for their toxic and adverse effects on humans. The present testing methods involve a lot of money, time, and animals and is proven to be inefficient. For Instance, to manufacture a single drug it takes nearly 10 years, $1-3 billion dollars in expenditure, and thousands of animals. Even post that many drugs are taken off the market due to unpredictable toxic effects on humans. 92% of drugs fail in human trials as animals' tests often fail to predict how humans would respond to a chemical.


In 2007, the National Research Council (working arm of National Academy of Sciences, USA) proposed that a paradigm change is required for how we test the adverse effects of chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, USA) proposed a pathway-based system where existing information can be used to create a hierarchy of how a chemical interacts at a molecular level, and how this molecular perturbation causes effects at cellular, tissue, organ, and organism, and population-level. This understanding can further be used to create models using computational techniques to predict which chemicals can have potential adverse effects, including allergies or human diseases like cancer.


Currently, there are 268 such pathways in the pathway database (AOPWiki) that span from an initial stressor to a population-level adverse effect(s), including reproductive disorders, cancer, and neurodegeneration. Cancer is currently the second-most widely covered area in the AOP Wiki, with 43 cancer-related pathways, including hepatic, renal, ovarian, bronchioalveolar, endometrial, stomach, breast, pancreatic, and corneal cancers.


However, there is a need to accumulate more information and pathways to build strong and accurate predictive models. In this regard, we are providing a funding opportunity to build on one of the existing cancer pathways in the database (AOP wiki) or be related to one of the 10 "hallmarks of cancer"; genetic instability, tumour-promoting inflammation, sustained proliferative signalling, insensitivity to antigrowth signals, resistance to cell death, angiogenesis, tissue invasion and metastasis, the tumour microenvironment and avoiding immune destruction.


The goal of this initiative is to create a better paradigm(s) for understanding human toxicity and disease biology in the 21st century. Such pathway-based approaches can help in prioritising molecules; improve predictivity; reduce time, money, and number of animals in biomedical and toxicity research.


Call for proposal and the application form can be found here. For further information or queries, please contact surat.parvatam@ccmb.res.in





Video on the Future of Toxicology