Big data and artificial intelligence can be a valid alternative to animal testing in research, in particular in the field of toxicology. This is the leitmotif of the edition 2020 of the Lush Prize, an international competition promoted by the company founded by Mark Constantine, always in the front line in the battles for civil rights, for environmental sustainability and for the protection of animals. The contest, launched eight years ago, delivers with each edition 250 thousand pounds sterling in favour of the researchers who lead projects with alternative methodologies to the use of living beings. And in this round between the winners there are also two italians: Domenico Gadaleta, researcher at the Mario Negri Institute of Milan and Edward Carnesecchi, who works in the Netherlands at the university of Utrecht. Both of you are distinct of the category Young Researchers have received a prize of 10 thousand pounds.
Gadaleta has participated with a study on the prevention of risks of damage and neurological disorders for the effect of certain chemical substances through the artificial intelligence and computer simulations. "The number of substances to which we are potentially exposed — explains the researcher — makes it impossible, in addition that is ethically unacceptable, to have recourse to animal testing to evaluate the potential risks. The use of computational models helps to predict the danger posed by the chemicals before they are produced and marketed, with a clear advantage in terms of safety of the population and saving of money".
Also the project Edaoardo Carnesecchi is linked to the evaluation of human toxicity, but also to the environment, exposure to mixtures of chemicals. "According to the latest report of the United Nations it is expected that the world production of chemicals is projected to double by 2030," he says. At the same time, the control agencies and the industries they seek safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals, a process that we call the replacement. Become, therefore, necessary scientific methodologies and innovative techniques to conduct the toxicity tests. In practical terms, we can say that it is practically impossible to perform toxicology testing in vivo for all the chemical substances and their possible combinations present in the real world, because it would be infinite. We then need to develop strategies for smart and apply the new methodologies Nam that do not include the administration of tests on animals, but that are more efficient, faster and sustainable".
the final phase of the Prize, that Lush promotes with the collaboration with the association of the Ethical Consumer, arrived 58 projects from 21 Countries of the world; the 9 winners are 7 different nations. When it was launched it has supported with over £ 2 million for 110 projects of researchers from 28 different Countries. The research projects are mostly related to safety testing for consumer products and medicines . The five categories in which it develops: science, training, lobbying, awareness-raising of public opinion and under the age of 35, in which are distinguished the two Italian researchers.