Cell-based assays for high throughput screening

Combine physiologically relevant cell-based applications, content rich multiplexing and HTS speeds.

Physiological relevance without workflow complexity 

The benefit of cell-based screening is to observe what compounds do to a cell, not to an isolated protein. The aim is to deliver better quality hits with a better chance of progression through drug development whilst eliminating the pursuit of poor compounds, that ultimately fail.

acumen Cellista® effortlessly provides decision making data from multiplexed cell-based applications in as little as two and a half minutes per microplate, permitting throughputs up to 400,000 wells/ 24 hour day in miniaturised assay formats. Featured applications are highlighted below.

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Eliminate false-negatives in ATP‑luminescence screens 

Whether screening for off-target drug effects, cytotoxic-, or cytoprotective agents, multiplexed cell viability assays provide insights into compound mechanism of action. Biochemical approaches (e.g. ATP-luminescence) can deliver misleading results through overestimating toxicity and underestimating potency.

We have developed a low cost homogeneous multiplexed assay using Hoechst, Propidium Iodide and Calcein-AM to deliver phenotypic readouts (including cell number, % live cells and cell cycle phase), that distinguishes between cytostatic and cytotoxic mechanism of action.  

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High throughput 3D spheroid assays

With only a small percentage of compounds showing preclinical anticancer efficacy making it to market, it is questionable if cells grown in 2D monolayers reflect the biological complexity of tumours. We have established a simple and robust method to screen 3D tumour spheroids.

Calcein-AM staining of tumour spheroids enables the determination of size by area and volume, plus a measure of cell viability following drug treatment. This method provides a robust and reproducible assay readout in as little as two and a half minutes per 384-well microplate.

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Genome-wide phenotypic screening

Genome-wide RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) screens have been used to identifying genes whose knockdown causes phenotypic changes. As the majority of RNAis will deliver negative results, a quick and easy triaging method to identify 'hits' is advantageous. We have developed a streamlined workflow solution that overcomes challenges such as data validation and storage issues that are associated with a high content approach.

From sample storage, to phenotypic result here we present a study identifying genes essential for cell cycle progression.

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Reliability and productivity for viral infectivity assays 

The viral plaque assay is a widely used method in virology for applications including: neutralising antibody plaque reduction, estimation of virus titre and propagation of infectious agents across a cell monolayer. Traditional methods are time consuming, labour intensive and highly variable.

We have developed a high-throughput image-based fluorescent assay to determine readouts such as % infection, syncytia formation, plaque size and number using immunofluorescence, or reporter technology assays. 

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