When the tissues of a living organism are exposed to a harmful agent, a number of biological processes are set in motion. The interior of the affected cells can be compared to a city which is hit by a natural disaster—sirens sound in the street, fire fighters are alerted, vehicles hurry along the streets …
The guardians of the skin are dendritic cells. When exposed to a sensitizer, they will react like the alarmed city and trigger an intricate response where different types of proteins are produced. Being able to study all of these different proteins at once would allow researchers to get a holistic view of what is happening in the cell in response to chemical stimulation.
Genomics provide researchers with the tools needed to study which proteins are produced, and to what extent, at any given time within the cell.
By using genomic biomarker signatures, GARD combines the straightforwardness of in vitro testing with the biological intricacy of in vivo models. It represents a big step towards a future scenario where the use of lab animals is an exception for safety testing purposes.