Neurobehavioral testing provides critical insights into how drugs and chemicals affect the central nervous system. The process relies on a 3-tier testing approach to identify neurotoxic effects, characterize the nature of identified neurotoxicity, and uncover the mechanisms underlying said effects.
The application of this science has play within several scenarios—from public exposure studies to drug therapy design to counter-terror strategies.
Here are 4 primary scenarios in which neurobehavioral toxicology is extremely critical.
Safety pharmacology seeks to identify the safe and appropriate dosage for a particular drug or therapy.
In this scenario, neurobehavioral testing is conducted during the preclinical trial phase to determine whether a drug is likely to produce adverse neurological effects. These tests are required for regulatory approval of new drugs and therapies.
Pharmaceutical Drug Testing
When designing new drug therapies, neurotoxicology can help scientists make clear decisions on the chemicals to include in their drugs.
Neurobehavioral testing is used during preclinical trials to assess the efficacy of potential therapies for neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), as well as drugs used to treat neuropsychiatric disorders such as ADHD, depression or bipolar disorder.
Safety testing can also be performed to ensure that the drug candidates do not adversely impact nervous system function or lead to drug dependence or drug abuse potential.
Industrial Chemical Exposure
Across America, there is growing concern that exposure to chemicals in the workplace or the environment may be linked to the development of neurological disorders.
Neurobehavioral testing can elucidate effects of chemical exposure and development of neurological symptoms and provide important clues to the underlying mechanisms of neurological damage. For government agencies, this testing is critical to developing an intervention plan and public response. For companies, this testing is crucial to understanding the risk that exists within their current facilities or processes, and to the general population from use or exposure.
Chemical Weapons Countermeasures
Nerve agents are among the most prevalent—and deadly—chemical weapons, including VX, soman and sarin. We must understand these agents to develop appropriate strategies to protect our military, first responders and civilians, and develop response efforts in the fallout of a catastrophe.
Neurobehavioral testing allows researchers to better understand how these agents impact the body and develop and test new therapies to mitigate the effects of exposure.
Trust Your Challenges to Problem Solvers
Often, companies rely on the services of Contract Research Organizations (CROs) to perform neurobehavioral testing. When selecting a CRO, it’s important to ensure the organization has the facilities, capacity, and experience necessary for a full-battery of neurobehavioral tests.
Battelle uses state-of-the art methods for neurobehavioral testing, including automated data collection, simultaneous neurobehavioral and cardiovascular testing, and other methods designed to increase throughput, reduce timelines and minimize costs. Most importantly, we deliver more than standardized studies. The scientists at Battelle are working to develop and validate new methods that are driving the industry forward. Our experienced staff work with our clients to solve unique problems and design studies to answer difficult research questions.
Want to know more about neurobehavioral testing? Download our white paper, Detecting Neurobehavioral Effects: Considerations in the Design & Execution of Neurobehavioral Studies to discover the 3-tiered approach of neurobehavioral testing, and what characteristics you should look for in a preclinical toxicology CRO.