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Developing therapies to treat rare diseases is often hindered by the limited availability of primary patient samples. Without these precious samples, it is difficult to understand the fundamental biology of these conditions or screen compound libraries for drug candidates. A group at the University of Parma is using a ‘chemogenomics’ approach to overcome this challenge, working on a nanoliter scale to identify new treatments for aggressive pediatric leukemias.
Automation brings more than simply speed to the laboratory. Modern software is taking the headache out of serial dilution and normalization calculations, supporting assay development and delivering reliable results for international healthcare company Merck.
Developing cancer drugs for clinical trials involves not only identifying and evaluating suitable agents, but also observing how they interact with the cocktail of other drugs in a cancer treatment regime. For the Telethon Kids Cancer Centre in Perth, Western Australia, increasing throughput and reducing assay volumes are essential to save money and time in the race to beat cancer.
Chinese medicine combines herbal remedies with acupuncture, massage, exercise and diet to provide alternative therapies for a wide range of conditions. Despite drawing on over 2,500 years of traditional knowledge, little is known about the mode of action of these herbal medicines. Researchers at Zhejiang University’s College of Pharmaceutical Sciences are looking to address this, using modern laboratory techniques to identify the numerous active pharmaceutical ingredients and synergistic effects that contribute to their efficacy.
California-based company zPREDICTA™ has created a novel technology that reconstructs physiologically-relevant organ-specific human microenvironments that help eliminate the guesswork from drug development. Meaningful drug discovery studies involve complex experiments that are not feasible to perform manually. Automation is the answer, improving accuracy, saving time and reducing the amount of compound used.
Drug development pipelines are under ever-increasing pressure to deliver more comprehensive data in a shorter timeframe, while reducing costs and making in vitro assay results more relevant to in vivo drug behavior. Assay automation and miniaturization has become essential for the oncology research team in Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division.