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aptn Investigates: Defiance - APTN National News

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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Earth Scientists, Alert! EPA, NCATS, NIEHS/NTP Offer 1 Million in Awards, Re, Chemical Metabolism

8 JAN 2016 Washington, D.C. - EPA Announcement


Federal Agencies Partner to Launch the Transform Tox Testing Challenge to Improve Chemical Screening

Video Explanation of What's Up - Below

A New Way to Evaluate Chemical Safety - TOX21



Up to $1 million will be shared among winning submissions


  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 
  • National Institutes of Health’s (NIH)
  • National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
  • NIH’s National Toxicology Program (NTP) 
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) 


The above agencies have gotten together and formed a new challenge.

The total awards will be up to $1 million dollars.

Reasons behind the contest is to seek input from Earth Scientists who have innovative ideas, and research to improve the relevance and predictability of data (results) generated from automated chemical screening technology used for toxicity testing.

There are tens of thousands of chemicals used in manufacture, drugs and the medical industry that have little or no testing.

Industries and chemical manufacturers have been shielded behind "proprietary" rules which kept their ingredients and processes top secret. That is understandable when we consider how much money is spent to recruit top scientists, buy the most expensive equipment, and pay to maintain facilities to conduct testing and manufacture.

The consequences for secrecy on human health has been disastrous. Many communities; usually the poorest are where toxins are dumped or processed. This causes clusters of diseases and has created Superfund/National Priorities List properties that are lethal to human health, and must go through a lengthy and expensive process of rehabilitation, called Brownfield Properties.

"Scientists from EPA, NIEHS/NTP, and NCATS are using high-throughput screening (HTS) assays to evaluate the potential health effects of thousands of chemicals.

High-throughput screening uses automated methods that allow for a large number of chemicals to be rapidly evaluated for a specific type of biological activity.

Current HTS assays do not fully incorporate chemical metabolism, so they may miss chemicals that are metabolized to a more toxic form in the body.

The challenge: "Transform Tox Testing Challenge: Innovating for Metabolism", is calling on innovative thinkers to find new ways to incorporate physiological levels of chemical metabolism into HTS assays.

This will help researchers more accurately assess effects of chemicals and better protect human health.

Teams will compete in three stages for a total award of $1 million.


  • The first stage, opening today (01/08/2016) and closing 04/08/2016) seeks practical designs that may be fully implemented. 


Up to ten (10) submissions may receive a prize of $10,000 each, and an invitation to continue on to the next stage.

  • The second stage requires a prototype that demonstrates the proposed idea in use. Up to five (5) participants may be awarded up to $100,000 each, and will be invited to participate in the final stage. 

  • The final stage requires a commercially viable method or technology for EPA and its partners to demonstrate and test. Based on this testing one participant may be awarded up to $400,000 for delivery of a method or device that will result in technologies that can provide metabolic competence to HTS assays. 

 All segments of industry, government, academia, non-governmental organizations, and others are encouraged to enter."

For more information on the Tox Testing Challenge, visit: www.transformtoxtesting.com

EPA is a federal agency whose mission is to protect human health and the environment.

For more information about EPA, visit About The EPA - Our Mission & What We Do

"NTP is a federal, interagency (takes place between other agencies) program, headquartered at the NIEHS, whose goal is to safeguard the public by identifying substances in the environment that may affect human health.

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) is a distinctly different entity in the research ecosystem. Rather than targeting a particular disease or fundamental science, NCATS focuses on what is common across diseases and the translational process."



Information in quotes is taken directly from the EPA Headquarters News Release of January 8, 2016.