Society of Toxicology Show Preview: SOT heads to Baltimore

After eight years, the Society of Toxicology brings its annual meeting back to ‘Charm City’

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Society of Toxicology’s 56th Annual Meeting and ToxExpo
March 12-16, 2017
Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, Maryland
SOT heads to Baltimore
After eight years, the Society of Toxicology brings its annual meeting back to ‘Charm City’
Like the pharma, biotech and life-sciences realms we cover in DDNews, toxicology involves the intersection of many disciplines—chemistry, biology, pharmacology, engineering, neurology, immunology, ophthalmology and more. At the 56th Annual Meeting and ToxExpo of the Society of Toxicology (SOT), more than 6,500 toxicologists—and others with a keen interest in toxicology—will come from around the world to gather and discuss scientific studies that could impact human, environmental and animal health, as well as government policies and regulations.
They will do so at the Baltimore Convention Center located at 1 West Pratt Street in downtown Baltimore, where more than 160 scientific sessions, some 2,500 abstracts and well over 300 exhibitors. As noted in an introductory letter to attendees by Dr. John B. Morris, the 2016-2017 SOT president, “This makes the SOT Annual Meeting an ideal place to expand your scientific knowledge, find new collaborators, and catch up on the latest techniques and initiatives ... Every year, networking is a key component of the meeting, from the welcome reception to regional chapter, specialty interest group, and specialty section receptions and all of the events in between.”
Asked what might be some highlights for our readers, Dr. Patricia E. Ganey—SOT vice president and scientific program committee chairperson—tells DDNews, “Our plenary sessions are always a highlight—the most cutting-edge science that provides us opportunities to think beyond our usual space. The lectures on data science, precision medicine and the exposome will be delivered by leaders in the respective fields. The topic of data science is particularly germane to our attendees—as we continue to incorporate methods that deliver big data sets into our profession, the power to derive the most understanding from them is critical.”
As for those in drug discovery and development and diagnostics R&D more specifically, she says, “This year several sessions on novel, 3D, in-vitro systems will be presented. These focus on a variety of organ systems and outcomes. These systems have the potential to allow us to examine molecular mechanisms of toxicity in ways that other, simpler or even more complex, systems do not. In addition, there will be several sessions relating advances in developmental and reproductive toxicology.”
Two special highlights noted by SOT are that renowned biologist Dr. J. Craig Venter will deliver the opening plenary lecture, while Royal Society Fellow Dr. Brigitta Stockinger will discuss environmental influences on the immune system during the keynote Medical Research Council (MRC) lecture.
Also, during Monday’s plenary session, Peter Sorger of Harvard Medical School and Stephen Friend of Apple Inc. will share the latest in data science. Precision medicine is the focus on Tuesday morning, with Jun Yang of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Richard Barker of Oxford University. On Wednesday, Paul Elliott of the Imperial College London will discuss the exposome and metabolic profiling during the keynote MRC lecture.
As SOT’s Ganey noted in her welcome letter to meeting attendees, the statement “Toxicology Testing of Drug Combinations Does Not Add Significant Value to Human Risk Evaluation beyond What Is Known for the Individual Agents” will be argued during the SOT/EUROTOX debate on Monday afternoon, continuing, as she writes, “the event’s tradition of addressing hot topics of high importance to toxicology and public health. In another partnership, the joint SOT and Japanese Society of Toxicology Symposium Session returns for the second year, focusing this year on drug-induced liver injury.”
We asked what might be new and/or refined this year compared to the 2016 event, to which Ganey responded, “This year we have a session that comprises our brightest trainees—graduate students and postdoctoral trainees. As our award lectures allow us to showcase past accomplishments, this session allows us to shine a light on the future of toxicology. It is an impressive future.”
As for what might be new or altered next year, she said, “Some are in discussion, but I cannot reveal them at this time. Your readers should stay tuned.”
To conclude on a less scientific note, SOT’s Morris noted in his welcome letter of the host city this year, “The convention center is located in downtown Baltimore, adjacent to the beautiful Inner Harbor and the historic Little Italy neighborhood. A short walk from the center is the National Aquarium, Port Discovery, the B&O Railroad Museum, and other attractions. And don’t forget the award-winning restaurants, where you can sample the famous Chesapeake Bay blue crabs.”

Access to cutting-edge companies and technology
One of the features of the SOT Annual Meeting is ToxExpo, which is set to feature more than 340 exhibitors—including laboratories, manufacturers, suppliers, researchers and more—who lead the industry in developing cutting-edge products, services and technology to benefit the toxicology community. Exhibitors also have the opportunity to demonstrate their products and educate attendees about their services via exhibitor-hosted sessions throughout the week. Alongside the exhibiting booths, ToxExpo will host most of the more than 2,500 scientific posters being presented at this year’s meeting, which cover air pollution, animal testing alternatives, carcinogenesis, epigenetics, food safety, nanotoxicology, neurodegenerative diseases, pharmaceutical safety and more.

A peek at the sessions
More than 160 scientific sessions will take place during the meeting. Sessions of note include:
  • “Environmental Exposures and Alzheimer’s Disease: Epidemiology, Mechanisms and Future Strategies,” which will look at cutting-edge research into how genetics and environmental exposures might contribute to neurodegenerative diseases.
  • “Immunostimulant Cancer Treatments: Toxicology Programs with an Autoimmmune ‘Twist,’” which will explore emerging research on drugs used to stimulate cellular immunity to diseases like cancer and how to prevent or minimize their adverse effects.
  • “An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure: How 21st Century Toxicology Can Transform Product Safety Assessments and Design of Lower Toxicity Products,” which will emphasize the scientific and economic benefits of partnerships between toxicologists, chemists, pharmacologists and others in the early stages of product development to discover and reduce the potential for adverse health effects before products enter the marketplace.
  • “Role of the Gut Microbiome in the Host Response to Xenobiotics,” which will examine how toxicants impact the trillions of bacteria in the body and the potential health effects.
  • “Adult Neurogenesis in Chemical-Induced Neurotoxicities: A New Frontier in Toxicological Mechanistic Investigations, Biomarker Research, and Therapeutic Targeting,” which will feature research on how cells in the adult brain regenerate and how this regeneration may impact or be impacted by environmental exposures and risk factors.
  • “New and Emerging Tobacco Products—Biomarkers of Exposure and Injury,” which will discuss research into evidence of exposure and harm in relation to alternative tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and hookahs. “Local and Systemic Toxicity from Cobalt and Chromium-Containing Hip Protheses,” which will focus on the clinical concernof adverse reactions to metal exposures as a result of failed hip prostheses, aggregating the most recent studies and information available to date.
  •  “Some Like It Hot: Impacts of Wildfires on Human Health,” which will explore the health effects associated with wildfire smoke, who is more likely to suffer adverse effectsfrom the smoke, and which public health interventionscan limit exposure risks.
  •  “The Future of Carcinogenicity Testing,” which will be a roundtable discussion on how approaches to carcinogen hazard testing are changing and where the future of carcinogen identification for human risk assessment lies.

Featured Scientific Sessions:
Daily Plenary Session: Data Science
  • Peter Sorger, Harvard Medical School, “Systems Approaches to Drug Efficacy and Toxicity in an Era of Big Data”
  • Lara Mangravite, Sage Bionetworks, “How Sensor-Based Reporting of Adverse Side Effects Might Replace Patient-Reported Outcomes”
  • Daily Plenary Session: Precision Medicine
  • Jun J. Yang, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, “Pharmacogenomics of Drug Toxicity in Cancer: Making the Case for Precision Medicine”
  • Richard Barker, Oxford University, “The Role of Precision Medicine in Closing the Innovation Gap”
Daily Plenary Session: Medical Research Council (MRC) Lecture
  • Paul Elliott, Imperial College London, “The Exposome: Challenges and Opportunities”
SOT and Japanese Society of Toxicology Mini-Symposium
  • Robert A. Roth, Michigan State University, “Cytotoxic Interaction of Cytokines with Drugs That Cause Idiosyncratic Liver Injury”
  • Tsuyoshi Yokoi, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, “Establishment of a Novel Cell-Based Assay for Drug-Induced Liver Injury Potential Considering Immune-and Inflammation-Related Factors”
Award Lectures
  • Samuel M. Cohen, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2017 SOT Merit Award recipient, “Cell Proliferation and Carcinogenesis: Bad Luck and the Environment”
  • Linda S. Birnbaum, US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Toxicology Program (NTP), 2017 SOT Distinguished Toxicology Scholar Award recipient, “Dioxins and the Ah Receptor: Synergy of Discovery”
  • Laura P. James, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Hospital, 2017 SOT Translational Impact Award recipient, “Development of a Clinical Diagnostic Test for Acetaminophen Liver Injury”

About SOT
Founded in 1961, the Society of Toxicology (SOT) is a professional and scholarly organization of more than 8,000 scientists from academic institutions, government and industry representing the great variety of individuals who practice toxicology in the United States and abroad. SOT is committed to creating a safer and healthier world by advancing the science and increasing the impact of toxicology. SOT promotes the acquisition and utilization of knowledge in toxicology, aids in the protection of public health and has a strong commitment to education in toxicology and to the recruitment of students and new members into the profession.

Global networking opportunities
Thousands of networking moments take place during the SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo. From exhibits to posters and scientific sessions to receptions, attendees have the opportunity to network with colleagues and leading scientists from around the world.
More than 20 percent of the attendees come from outside North America, some from as far away as Australia, Egypt, China, Latin America and Africa.

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