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Brain tumors are the most common cause of mortality in childhood cancer patients, and treatment options are limited, especially for recurrent cases. Researchers at the University Hospital Düsseldorf are using automation to develop a more personalized approach to cancer medicine, performing rapid drug screening to identify novel therapeutic strategies to improve the chances of survival.
The initial screening of chromatographic conditions can be a major bottleneck in the development of protein purification protocols. Italian company BiCT – Biological and Chemical Technologies – has turned to automation to overcome this issue, implementing parallel processing of miniature chromatography columns on a liquid handling platform to enable rapid simultaneous screening of a range of conditions. This maximizes the prospect of achieving the best result for each project while saving time and resources.
Genetic testing to screen for congenital defects is useful to identify susceptibility to, or the cause of, many diseases. The medical genetics department at the Policlinico di Milano – a teaching hospital in Italy’s Lombardy region – is using automation to improve the throughput of its genetic screening workflow, aiming to increase the number of diseases it can test for, and the number of samples it can handle.
NGNY Devices is striving to fully automate laborious pre-analytical sample processing for clinical testing, helping to increase throughput and reduce human error. Its systems are already providing advanced sample sorting and aliquoting across Europe, offering a significant advantage over manual sample handling for busy clinical labs.
Rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and celiac disease are familiar examples of autoimmune disorders that occur when the immune system attacks healthy cells or tissues by mistake. Myasthenia gravis is a far rarer autoimmune disease, causing weakness in the skeletal muscles. LAB Maastricht UMC+ in the Netherlands has a long history with myasthenia gravis, using gold standard immunoassays to enable accurate diagnosis and provide the information necessary to allow effective treatment.
Extracellular HMGB1 has been implicated in a wide range of conditions, from trauma and sepsis to epilepsy and lupus. As a result, this almost ubiquitous biomolecule is garnering increasing interest as a potential target for new therapeutics. In a recent review paper, Prof Ulf Andersson et al. summarized the latest advances in our understanding of the release, receptor interactions and functional consequences of extracellular HMGB1.
Researchers at the Grenoble Institute of Technology are exploring the potential of biomimetic coatings to aid tissue regeneration. The group has developed an innovative, automated layer-by-layer production technique, allowing high throughput in vitro investigations into the ability of these biomimetic coatings to control stem cell differentiation.
CNS disorders are often seen as the greatest area of unmet medical need, and are characterized by changes or degeneration in specific subsets of neurons and other cell types in the brain. Pharmaceutical start-up Cerevance is using a new sequencing method to study specific cell types from post-mortem brain tissue, helping the company to understand the pathology of these conditions in more detail than previously possible.
High sensitivity immunoassays allow earlier detection and diagnosis of patient conditions, leading to earlier interventions and better patient prognoses. Immunodiagnostics company Singulex’s unique immunoassay technology allows early detection of even low abundance biomarkers for a wide range of conditions, and the company has partnered with Tecan to develop an intuitive, fully automated platform – the Singulex Clarity® system – which will allow clinical labs to take advantage of this novel technology for routine diagnostics.
Quality control of milk is important to ensure compliance with regulations and to support dairy farmers in their herd management. However, analyzing multiple milk samples from many individual cows is a time-consuming process. French laboratory AGRANIS is using a new, automated genotyping technique to analyze bulk tank milk samples, saving time and money on its testing services.
Studying the co-operative and competitive behavior between bacteria offers potential insights into treating polymicrobial infections. Researchers at the University of Zurich are using a combination of biochemical and gene expression assays to probe these community interactions, hoping to better understand how microbial species evolve, co-exist and cause disease.