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Replicable Assays: Not the Impossible Dream

Replicable Assays: Not the Impossible Dream

November 12, 2020
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In drug development, assays are test systems that gauge the effects of chemical compounds on certain cellular, molecular, or biochemical processes. They are a vital step in modern pharma research that pushes drugs to market faster.

These screens can accurately replicate physiologic conditions, making the development of replicable assays vital for drug development and discovery – and a priority for pharma labs. Many factors can influence the outcomes of an assay, and creating them is not easy, which is why knowing the crucial steps to take in the process can simplify the approach.

We’ve laid out three here:

Choosing the best model for your assay should not be a Quixote quest

A good cell line – or tissue sample – lays the foundation for the experiment, so this selection is a pivotal first step. A contaminated cell line can lead to inaccurate results. To avoid delays and added costs, obtain the supply of cells or tissue from the same batch to have consistent and reliable results.

The use of spheroid (3D-based) models is growing in popularity. This approach can minimize the number of animal studies done during both target validation and preclinical stages, making it popular for ethical and cost purposes. Of course, this is a holistic decision, and must be made with all your assay’s requirements in mind, and a 3D model can’t completely eradicate the use of in vivo studies in the process.

Consider technical aspects

Make sure you take all the technical specifics to into account when selecting and developing an assay. There are a lot of decisions to make in every step of the process, from choosing the starting material to the signal-to-background ratio, sensitivity, and dynamic range. These are all details to take into consideration during development. Assays can vary widely-and you should weight the pros and cons of each decision; some assays are easier to use, but have low sensitivity, while others are more complex, but deliver higher sensitivity.

Select the right microplate

It’s crucial to consider what you need from your microplate before picking it, as it is an important factor in the process for producing quality results. Researchers who choose a microplate only for cost effectiveness are dismissing valuable considerations like format size, coating, and material. The geometry of the assays can include flat-bottom, U-bottom, and V-bottom, and are all designed with specific purposes in mind. It’s also important to consider if plates will be compatible with your lab’s current screening instrumentation.

These are just three of the steps to take toward reliable and replicable assay development. You can find the entire list here.


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