The Discipline of Toxicologic Pathology
Toxicologic pathology is a biomedical specialty that integrates the science of toxicology (study of poisons) and pathology (study of disease). Both toxicology and pathology are critical components of the safety assessment process used in predicting human and animal responses to drugs, chemicals, and therapeutic devices, including identifying the potential of these agents to cause cancer. The toxicologic pathology discipline also studies adverse environmental exposure responses in aquatic organisms, domesticated and wild animals, and humans. In addition to morphological diagnoses of organ and tissue pathology, toxicologic pathology includes identifying injury at the cellular, subcellular, and molecular levels to identify the health consequences of the adverse effects of drugs, chemicals, and therapeutic devices on aging, genetics, nutrition, immune function, developmental biology, reproduction, and brain development. The discipline of toxicologic pathology is heavily involved in development and safety assessment of new candidate drugs, pesticides, new medical implants, food additives, over the counter herbal products, and genetically modified foods with a primary objective of improving human, animal, and environmental health.