Relation/Comparison with other methods
Any model, such as animal models (also called in vivo) or cellular models (in vitro models), is a system which applies to a specific situation, and simplifies a complex system, which cannot be used experimentally for investigation. For instance, in case of toxicity studies, the target is human health, and for environmental studies the target may be a certain ecosystem. In practice, all current models simplify the final target. The rabbit model will never replace the human being, and similarly the trout used in a tank cannot replace the complex environmental system where many different fishes, and animal, and environmental conditions exist. Methods like in vitro and in silico models are often called alternative methods, because they can be used as alternative to animal models. In addition, these methods can be used to provide further information, to better address the final target: human beings and environment. Thus, it would be reductive to see in silico methods simply as surrogate of animal models.
The comparison and integration of in vivo, in vitro and in silico, have been discussed during the workshop organized by the EC funded project RAINBOW.
Several platforms of QSAR models exist. The ANTARES project lists hundreds of QSAR models, tens of them are freely available.
Some well known platforms are:
VEGA: The ORCHESTRA project, with ANTARES, has developed the VEGA platform, which incorporates CAESAR and T.E.S.T. models into a single framework. An advantage of the VEGA platform is the facilitated and supported user-access: supporting information, tutorials and videos are all available on the web site. It has been developed from the point of view of the user, and of the REACH requirements. Each model produces not only a predicted value, but also many pages of explanation and assessment of its reliability.
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