Drug Development

What is In-vitro Toxicology Screening in Drug Development?

Massive screening of chemical libraries using in-vitro cell-based target assays is used in drug development. These pharmacological screenings are widely recognized. This permission has only been granted for the Ames, chromosomal aberration, and ocular annoyance tests for in-vitro toxicity screening.

A number of cellular tests for cytotoxicity, nontoxicity, embryotoxicity, cellular metabolic activation mechanisms, and endocrine disruption are still awaiting widespread recognition. From that point forward, methods for detecting undesirable pharmacological or toxicological effects will be accessible at a far earlier stage in the drug development process.

Use of In-vitro Toxicology Screening in Drug Development

Toxicities of the cardiovascular, liver, and central nervous system are the most prevalent and significant safety issues that lead to the discontinuation of any medication development programme (CNS). Nonetheless, the precise aim of a novel medication might greatly influence its side effects. Drugs used to treat respiratory disorders, for example, have a higher risk of producing respiratory toxicity.

Find potential toxicity early within the drug discovery process can save time and money, as well as minimize the probability of late-stage failure. As a result, predicting the possible toxicities of prospective compounds is critical for effective medication development.

Depending on the characteristics of your hit compounds, there are several screening assays to consider running during the drug discovery phase, such as reactive metabolite production, time-dependent CYP inhibition, or transporter inhibition.

Furthermore, 3D cell models can be beneficial for screening for metabolism-dependent toxicity or delayed toxicity since they allow for long-term incubation with metabolically active cells.

Medication-induced toxicities, the most prevalent of which are hepatotoxicity and cardiotoxicity, are the primary reason for drug removal from the market. Potential therapeutic candidates frequently fail due to unacceptably high levels of toxicity.


The Comprehensive In-vitro Proarrhythmia Assay (CiPA) initiative has successfully allowed researchers to integrate their experimental results into its effects on specific cardiac ion channels and action potentials in cardiomyocytes to establish more accurate proarrhythmic predictions to improve the specificity of current cardiotoxicity assays.

Furthermore, recent advances in the knowledge of stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes have enabled researchers to create more precise and repeatable in-vitro tests based on human cells.

Screening for Liver Toxicity

Drug-induced liver damage (DILI), also known as drug-induced liver toxicity, can occur in a variety of ways. Direct cell toxicity may be examined using the barrier integrity test (LDH release), and cell viability can be assessed using the MTT assay or by measuring the ATP levels of the cells.

Mitochondrial toxicity in liver cells may be investigated by substituting the cell’s energy supply glucose with galactose in the incubation medium to increase toxicity. The use of metabolically active hepatocytes in the virtual screening tests accounts for metabolism-dependent toxicity.


In-vitro toxicity tests are among the most helpful preclinical methods for analysing a drug’s tolerability while also allowing researchers to enhance its characteristics prior to clinical trials. Drug-induced liver damage, both acute and idiosyncratic, is another important cause of drug attrition (DILI).

Additional tests of DILI detection include those that look at a drug’s mitochondrial toxicity and cytotoxicity, as well as its ability to change bile acid homeostasis and oxidative stress levels.

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