It is the quality of being toxic to cells. Such toxic agents are an immune cell or some types of venom, e.g. from the puff adder or brown recluse spider. The cells may undergo necrosis, in which they lose membrane integrity and die rapidly as a result of cell lysis. Cytotoxicity assays are used in developing therapeutics that targets rapidly dividing cancer cells, for instance; or they can screen "hits" from initial high-throughput drug screens for unwanted cytotoxic effects before investing in their development as a pharmaceutical.
Related Journals: Journal of Drug Metabolism & Toxicology, Cancer Medicine & Anti Cancer Drugs, Journal of Carcinogenesis & Mutagenesis, Toxicology in Vitro,Applied In Vitro Toxicology , Cell Biology and Toxicology.