Evolution of the international workshops on quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs) in environmental toxicology†
SAR and QSAR in environmental research (Print)
This presentation will review the evolution of the workshops from a scientific and personal perspective. From their modest beginning in 1983, the workshops have developed into larger international meetings, regularly held every two years. Their initial focus on the aquatic sphere soon expanded to include properties and effects on atmospheric and terrestrial species, including man. Concurrent with this broadening of their scientific scope, the workshops have become an important forum for the
... y dissemination of all aspects of qualitative and quantitative structure-activity research in ecotoxicology and human health effects. Over the last few decades, the field of quantitative structure/activity relationships (QSARs) has quickly emerged as a major scientific method in understanding the properties and effects of chemicals on the environment and human health. From substances that only affect cell membranes to those that bind strongly to a specific enzyme, QSARs provides insight into the biological effects and chemical and physical properties of substances. QSARs are useful for delineating the quantitative changes in biological effects resulting from minor but systematic variations of the structure of a compound with a specific mode of action. In addition, more holistic approaches are being devised that result in our ability to predict the effects of structurally unrelated compounds with (potentially) different modes of action. Research in QSAR environmental toxicology has led to many improvements in the manufacturing, use, and disposal of chemicals. Furthermore, it has led to national policies and international agreements, from use restrictions or outright bans of compounds, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), mirex, and highly chlorinated pesticides (e.g. DDT, dieldrin) for the protection of avian predators, to alternatives for ozone-depleting compounds, to better waste treatment systems, to more powerful and specific acting drugs. Most of the recent advances in drug development could not have been achieved without the use of QSARs in one form or another. The pace of such developments is rapid and QSARs are the keystone to that progress. These workshops have contributed to this progress and will continue to do so in the future.