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  2. Mar 16, 2021

New Test Method Detects Hormone-Like Effects

Study in a Sentence: Researchers have developed a new test, called the E-Morph Assay, that can analyze the effects of hormones on cultured human cells using AI-automated image-based screening.

Healthy for Humans: Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are hormone-like chemicals that can interfere with the endocrine system and are associated with adverse health effects, such as increased risk of breast cancer in the case of estrogen-like substances. The E-Morph Assay can identify EDs with estrogen-like effects by applying a substance to human breast cancer cells and observing which substances loosen the connection between cells in the mammary gland, making it easier for breast cancer cells to spread. This test can be fully automated, allowing many substances to be tested in a short period of time. 

Redefining Research: Regulatory agencies typically require animal tests to identify and characterize EDs, including substances with estrogenic activity, however, the E-Morph Assay can significantly contribute to reducing the number of animals that are used for the testing of environmental chemicals. The E-Morph Assay also shows potential in the development and testing of pharmaceuticals and may be beneficial for regulatory toxicology and biomedical research. 


Kornhuber M, Dunst S, Schonfelder G, Oelgeschlager M. The E-Morph Assay: Identification and characterization of environmental chemicals with estrogenic activity based on quantitative changes in cell-cell contact organization of breast cancer cells. Environment International. 2021.

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