Partner Research Corner
Enabling Cell-based Assays and Translation to Personalized Medicine
Cell-based assays have expanded in use, and reduced in sample requirements over the past decade, driven by technologies that have improved the culture and monitoring of cell functions on a miniature scale. One of our partners, Microstem Inc., based in San Diego, CA, is an example of an early stage reagent development company that approached Grace Bio-Labs for technical solutions to supply their system for cell-based assays. The MicroMatrix(tm) system from Microstem consists of an array of various extracellular matrices printed onto a hydrogel-coated microscope slide. The system enables parallel culture of cells in the presence of hundreds to thousands of fully defined extracellular matrices in order to determine the precise cellular microenvironment that affects cell behavior and functions, including adhesion, proliferation and differentiation.
“The advantage of our system is the use of defined human matrices in a miniaturized platform, which allows researchers to study a variety of cellular microenvironments in parallel with high reproducibility. This platform is particularly useful when conducting studies using primary cells, such as stem cell and tumor cells” says Marie Zhang, COO at Microstem. “Many of the matrices provided by other vendors are derived from complex biological material which can vary from lot-to-lot and frequently is not xeno-free,” explains Marie.
Grace Research Corner
Multiplex Microarrays: The Next Generation ELISA
Presented by: Michael A. Shultz, PhD
The hallmark of chronic diseases is the production of highly specific autoantibodies ( 1,2 ). These autoantibodies are increasingly measured to guide clinical decision making. The goal of these measurements is to define intracellular signal pathway activation profiles. These profiles can be integrated with clinical information to generate “biosignatures” for individual patients, the goal of which is personalized or precision medicine.
Comprehensive autoantibody profiling would revolutionize clinical practice at several levels. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) are extensively used in clinical diagnostics for detection of individual analytes in biological samples and are accepted as the “gold standard” against which other assays are measured. Conventional ELISA methods are limited however, as they only detect one target within a single reaction well. Confirming the presence of multiple biomarkers within a sample by conventional ELISA requires a multitude of independent tests, increasing time, cost and the possibility of error. A Microarray is essentially a miniaturized form of ELISA , and offers multiplexing capacity, significantly reducing procedure time, labor and sample quantity requirements, making microarrays the desired format for high-throughput data collection for personalized patient profiling..
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