DiscussionMost drug discovery programs employ immortalized cells, recombinantly engineered, to express a defined molecular target. However, numerous programs now use primary cells, which retain many functions seen in vivo, as well as endogenously expressing the target of interest. Stem cells, of either embryonic or adult origin, as well as those derived from differentiated cells, are now also finding a place in drug discovery. Such cells expand the utility of authentic human cells as screening tools by providing cells derived directly from patients.
Nonetheless, the use of phenotypically relevant cells (including primary cells and stem cells) is not without technical difficulties, particularly when their envisioned use lies in high-throughput screening (HTS) protocols. The limited availability of homogeneous primary or stem cell populations mandates that novel technologies be developed to accelerate their growth as well as mimic their endogenous phenotype, thereby reflecting the drug pharmacology in vivo.
This presentation describes several technologies now available from Corning Life Sciences to facilitate primary and stem cell use in drug screening and optimization. These include novel surfaces and coatings for primary and stem cell growth, as well as optimized vessels and microtiter plates for cell culture (including spheroids). We will also discuss novel technologies to assess compound metabolic liability using primary hepatocytes and immortalized cells expressing key transporter proteins.