Every year, billions are invested by governments and businesses around the world for the clinical approval and testing of novel drug compounds. Despite this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only approves a handful of new chemical entities for production and sale each year.
For decades, cell-based bioassays have been used to streamline the process of drug discovery, testing, and development. These assays allow new drugs to be introduced into the market safely and efficiently. Due to their usefulness, the technological evolution of cell-based bioassays is not slowing down.
One of the primary effects that can be quantified with the help of cell-based bioassays during drug development is known as cytotoxicity. Other factors that can be investigated and quantified using cell-based bioassays include biochemical mechanisms, biological activity, and off-target interactions.
As cell cultures are extremely amenable to multiplexing and miniaturization, they can be easily used for high-throughput screening, a process that is frequently abbreviated as HTS. This process can be used for the simultaneous testing of numerous compounds under a variety of conditions.
The Uses of Cell-Based Bioassays Beyond Cytotoxicity
Nowadays, cell culture scientists can use technological advancements in the fields of molecular biology and physiology. To investigate and quantify the effects of drug compounds on a variety of cell phenotypes. For instance, the effects of a compound on protein-protein interactions can be revealed with the help of protein complementation assays.
This is important because such interactions can result in cellular pathways being inundated with signaling cascades. This can facilitate the investigation of cellular pathways, including those that are involved in the proliferation of cancer.
Another informative element that can help reveal the effects of any given compound on cellular functions is known as calcium signaling, which is involved in various essential physiological processes.
New tools and techniques that are being used in the field of molecular biology more. More often have allowed researchers to monitor processes such as calcium signaling through carefully constructed cell-based bioassays. This could have significant and long-term implications vis-à-vis the ever-growing drug discovery and development sector.
With the extensive amounts of functional genomics data that are now available. The effects of a drug compound on different cellular processes can be investigated with the help of numerous types of genes. The highly advanced reporter gene technology enables scientists to conduct such investigations in cell cultures. Moreover, image analysis and automated fluorescence microscopy allow for seamless integration. Into an automated HTS pipeline while helping streamline the processes for effective drug discovery.
Dimensions of Cell-Based Analysis
While many previously considered the three-dimensional cell cultures to be cumbersome and expensive. This perception has been altered over the years due to advancements in technology. These cultures easier and cheaper to create. In comparison to traditional 2D cell cultures, spheroids show gene expression profiles that are almost identical to clinical profiles.
Moreover, spheroids can better mimic tumors as they experience a nutrient gradient throughout their mass and have a hypoxic core. Various protocols have so far been discovered by researchers around the world to grow 3D cultures of various common cancer cell lines. This makes it easy for drug testing and screening to be performed on these cultures.
By combining the varied advantages of cell cultures and animal models, modern cell-based bioassays. Allowing drug developers to identify problems with compounds and candidate leads at an early stage. This leads to the safer and quicker development of essential drugs. So that effective and innovative medication can be made available to those who need them as soon as possible.
The Role of Research Laboratories
Various reputed laboratories around the US provide an array of cell-based drug discovery assays meant for various stages of the drug development process. Drug screening, combination, and profiling are some of the services that are commonly offered by most labs.
Other services that may be offered include pharmacokinetic and ADME services, drug toxicity testing services, and services involving the development of 3D cell culture models.
The best laboratories help create unique and effective drug discovery solutions with their state-of-the-art technologies. For the best results, drug developers should choose a lab that has years of experience. In performing cell-based bioassays using up-to-date technologies. Ideally, they should also be capable of developing, designing, and implementing custom cell-based bioassays to meet the needs of every client.