The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced funding of an Indiana University collaborative study to develop a computational model of acetaminophen-induced liver failure—the leading cause of liver failure in the United States—by using advanced microscopic and computational technologies that allow researchers to see into the liver of a living animal. The research is viewed as a first step in the development of new technologies capable of predicting the toxicity of therapeutic agents and environmental toxins while simultaneously reducing the use of animals in toxicity studies.
The research, including computer simulations calibrated using microscopic imaging in the liver of a living mouse, will be conducted at IU laboratories in both Bloomington and Indianapolis. The study teams are focusing on the liver because it is a key organ in many toxicological, pharmacological, normal and disease processes; and on acetaminophen as the organ’s toxic challenge as it is the most widely used over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer in the U.S., with over 25 billion doses sold annually. Read a news story about the planned research effort here.