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EPA Signs Research Agreement to Develop Improved Tests for Identifying Hazardous Chemicals

Release Date: 08/04/2004
Contact Information:

Suzanne Ackerman, 202-564-7819 /

(Washington, D.C. – Aug. 4, 2004) To better protect humans from the effects of toxic chemicals, EPA has joined in a research agreement with Affymetrix, Inc. to develop testing protocols -- based on examination of genetic response of cells -- that are faster, less expensive, and more accurate than current methods of testing laboratory animals. EPA’s work in protecting human health and the environment requires screening thousands of chemicals to select those that may be hazardous for more in-depth toxicity tests. The time and cost of screening has limited the number of complete toxicological profiles that are submitted to and evaluated by the Agency each year.

Through this agreement, EPA will assess the feasibility of using Affymetrix GeneChip® technology for predicting chemical toxicity in humans. If successful, besides reducing time and costs, this technology will also allow researchers to extract the maximum of data from far fewer animal test subjects. This project supports and enhances ongoing efforts in EPA’s computational toxicology research program to develop improved testing protocols for identifying chemical hazards to human health.

"EPA is pleased to be entering this partnership with Affymetrix to evaluate the use of GeneChip® technology in improving our ability to prioritize chemicals for screening and testing for human health hazard. Since such testing can be both time- and cost-intensive, we see great potential in being able to use chip technology to more efficiently and effectively select chemicals for toxicological evaluation," states Dr. Paul Gilman, Assistant Administrator for Research and Development.

Affymetrix will provide the appropriate GeneChip arrays for the project. EPA will conduct the experiments at its National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Both Affymetrix and EPA will collaborate on the analysis of the test results.

Under the Federal Technology Transfer Act, a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement or CRADA allows private industry and state/local governments access to federal laboratories to exchange EPA personnel, equipment or services for a particular project. The goal of a CRADA is to more efficiently collaborate with others to move technology into real world applications. CRADAs are flexible and can be adapted to fit the goals of a variety of organizations.

For more information on EPA’s computational toxicology program, visit the website at:

To learn more about CRADAs, visit: