Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Toxicology-on-a-Chip Tool Readies for Market

13.12.2005


University and biotech company collaboration prepares MetaChip for technology transfer


This slide includes approximately 2,000 combinations of eight enzymes used in human liver metabolism. To detect toxic drug compound reactions, the slide is “stamped” with a second slide of human organ cells. Photo by RPI/Moo-Yeal Lee and Jonathan Dordick



Recalls of popular prescription drugs are raising public concern about the general safety of new pharmaceuticals. A collaborative group of researchers says that identifying which drug candidates are toxic early in the discovery process can help prevent harmful pharmaceuticals from being placed on the market in the first place, and they have developed a tool to do it.

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of California-Berkeley, and Solidus Biosciences Inc. have developed a biochip, called the MetaChip, which can analyze drug candidates for toxicity and eliminate harmful ones before they advance to pre-clinical stages. Now beginning the second phase of funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported project, researchers are working to optimize the technology for the end user: pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The researchers are working to bring the MetaChip to market within a year.


“Compounds can be screened early, quickly, and effectively by the MetaChip to prevent toxic drugs from getting through the discovery process, being put on the market, and then getting recalled, such as we’ve seen with several high-profile cases recently,” says Jonathan Dordick, the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer.

“Weeding out toxic compounds earlier would also allow pharmaceutical companies to evaluate more compounds and more efficiently identify those that are most likely to become successful drugs,” adds Douglas Clark of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of California-Berkeley.

Dordick and Clark are also the co-founders of Solidus Biosciences, a biotech company located at the Rensselaer Incubator for start-up businesses.

The MetaChip (metabolizing enzyme toxicology assay chip) mimics the effects of metabolism in the human liver where enzymes break down, neutralize, and excrete chemicals from food and pharmaceuticals. In many cases, the metabolized chemicals, called metabolites, are harmless or even beneficial. But some metabolites are toxic, and this toxicity can be difficult to predict or find at early stages of drug discovery with current testing methods.

“The relatively slow pace of technology development in toxicology and clinical safety evaluation that could be used in early phases of drug development continues to hinder the progression of lead compounds to pharmaceuticals,” Dordick says. “In addition to safety concerns, drug discovery is an extremely costly process with more than $1 billion invested in each approved drug. For the first time, the MetaChip can enable the initial and high-throughput analysis of metabolism-induced toxicology to be performed before significant resources are invested in the drug’s development.”

Solidus Biosciences recently received a $1.7 million, three-year award from NIH through its Small Business Technology Transfer Program to optimize the MetaChip for market. Rensselaer will receive approximately $500,000 as a sub-contractor of the award. The technology has been patented by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and University of California-Berkeley and licensed exclusively to Solidus Biosciences.

The MetaChip uses a culturing method by combining enzyme catalysis with cell-based screening on a single microscale chip. The drug candidates are added to a chip containing approximately 2,000 combinations of eight enzymes used in human liver metabolism and then sandwiched with a slide of human organ cells in order to detect toxic reactions to the compound. When toxic reactions are detected, the toxic drug compounds are eliminated as potential candidates for further development as new pharmaceuticals. The researchers are also working to develop an automated MetaReader device to quickly analyze the results.

Dordick, Clark, and collaborators published findings on the MetaChip in the Jan. 25, 2005 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in a paper titled “Metabolizing Enzyme Toxicology Assay Chip (MetaChip) for High-Throughput Microscale Toxicity Analyses.” The peer-reviewed publication defines the technology and results of testing in more detail.;

Development of the MetaChip technology is part of several NIH-funded research projects at Rensselaer seeking more efficient ways to synthesize and identify compounds that merit further development as possible new drugs.

Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Rensselaer

At Rensselaer, faculty and students in diverse academic and research disciplines are collaborating at the intersection of the life sciences and engineering to encourage discovery and innovation. Rensselaer’s four biotechnology research constellations - biocatalysis and metabolic engineering, functional tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, biocomputation and bioinformatics, and integrative systems biology — engage a multidisciplinary mix of faculty and students focused on the application of engineering and physical and information sciences to the life sciences. Ranked among the world’s most advanced research facilities, Rensselaer’s Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies provides a state-of-the-art platform for collaborative research and world-class programs and symposia.

About Rensselaer

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the nation’s oldest technological university. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, management, and the humanities and social sciences. Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals around the world. Rensselaer faculty are known for pre-eminence in research conducted in a wide range of fields, with particular emphasis in biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, and the media arts and technology. The Institute is well known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace so that new discoveries and inventions benefit human life, protect the environment, and strengthen economic development.

Tiffany Lohwater | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rpi.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>