ACToR: New Chemical Database from the EPA

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In the Spotlight

ACToR: New Chemical Database from the EPA

Published: January 6, 2009
ACToR (Aggregated Computational Toxicology Resource) is a new chemical database that centralizes access to toxicity data on a large number of environmental chemicals. The ACToR database and software applications were developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency\’s (EPA) National Center for Computational Toxicology (NCCT).

The free, publicly-accessible ACToR database provides a portal for chemical information collected from over 200 diverse sources. Chemical structure and toxicity information for each chemical have been compiled from various EPA databases, other U.S. government databases (PubChem, National Institutes of Health, Department of Agriculture, and Food & Drug Administration), and other national and international sources. Two important databases included in ACToR are: DSSTox and ToxRefDB. Data generated by the EPA ToxCast chemical screening and prioritization program will also be available through ACToR.

The ease of access to data compiled from many different sources provided by ACToR is expected to be a welcome resource to regulatory and industry scientists who use chemical toxicity data. Judson, et al. (2008) described the following key uses for ACToR: a) derivation of training and validation data sets for chemical screening and prioritization efforts; b) a unique resource for researchers developing computational models linking chemical structure with in vitro and in vivo assays; and c) a valuable resource for EPA and other regulatory agency reviewers who are examining new chemicals submitted for marketing approval. One important application of ACToR has been a survey of the toxicity data that is available on key environmental chemicals. In a recently published paper (Judson, et al., 2008), the extent of publicly available toxicity information on approximately 10,000 substances including industrial chemicals, pesticide ingredients, and air and water pollutants was analyzed. Key findings are that, while acute hazard data is available for 59% of the surveyed chemicals, detailed testing information is much more limited for carcinogenicity (26%), developmental toxicity (29%) and reproductive toxicity (11%). The EPA ToxCast screening and prioritization program is designed to address this toxicity data gap.

Dr. Richard Judson, the NCCT scientist in charge of the ACToR program states “This has been an important project for the EPA and our customers, the American public. Prior to the existence of ACToR, it was difficult to find what was known about any given chemical, much less the thousands of different chemicals in the environment. Among other uses, ACToR will allow us to follow our progress in filling in these key data gaps.”

Chemical structure, physico-chemical values, in vitro assay data, and in vivo toxicology data are the primary types of data in ACToR. This structure-searchable database is expected to facilitate studies of structure-function relationships and serve an important role in the advancement of computational toxicology.

After browsing through the left column links on the ACToR hompage, the place to go is the “Help” link where you will be walked through screenshots and descriptions of the functions available at the other links (Data Collections; Search by Name; Search by CASRN; Search by Structure; Browse Assays).

Scientists at NCCT will continue to add other data collections to the ACToR database.

Further Reading
AltTox users are referred to the following sources for additional information on ACToR.

EPA. (2008). ACToR Home. Available here.

EPA. (2008). Databases and Models. Available here.

Judson, R., Richard, A., Dix, D., et al. (2008).
ACToR – Aggregated Computational Toxicology Resource. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 233, 7-13. Available here.

Judson, R. (2008). The ToxCast Chemical Universe and ACToR. October 23, 2008 presentation. Available here.

Judson, R., et al. (2008) “The Toxicity Data Landscape for Environmental Chemicals”. Environmental Health Perspectives, doi:{10.1289/ehp.0800168} Available here.