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In Vitro Screening

The Pharmacology Core provides integrated and versatile in vitro testing services. These services are customizable to meet the individual needs of researcher projects. Cell analysis services which are provided include cytotoxicity, clonogenicity, drug tissue penetration assay, molecular endpoints, HCS image acquisition and analysis platform for cell-based assays, medium through-put analysis against multiple cell lines and drug combination assessments.

Cytotoxicity
Including MTT, MTS, Alamar Blue and CyQUANT® Cytotoxicity testing using cell cultures offers a rapid readout of the potential of a novel compound to have anti-cancer activity. These tests use mitochondrial activity or DNA content as readout of activity and may be correlated to percent cell kill or growth inhibition.

Clonogenicity
A clonogenicity assay is a soft agar technique for studying the effectiveness of novel agents on the survival and proliferation of cells. It is frequently used in cancer research to determine the effect of drugs or radiation on proliferating tumor cells. It can also be used to sort mixed cell populations.

Molecular Endpoint Assessment
By using a number of molecular biology techniques including flow cytometry, RNA and protein analysis, we are able to precisely pinpoint effects on cells of novel compounds.

Synergy Assays

Synergy assays measure the interaction of two drugs together and their combined effect on a cell population. If the combined effect is greater than would be expected based on summed individual effects, synergy is said to be present. The Pharmacology Core uses the internationally recognized standard as introduced by Chou and Talalay, and applied in the CalcuSyn software, to derive data from cell culture techniques.

Assessment of Synergy by Chou-Talalay Method.

 Drug penetration assay / Multilayered Cell Culture

The Drug penetration assay measures the micro-distribution of drugs and their effects within the tumour microenvironment.

Multilayered cell cultures represent a new model of the tumour microenvironment that can be used under controlled in vitro conditions to examine how anticancer drugs penetrate the extravascular compartment of solid cancers.

Using multilayered cell cultures grown from a variety of cancer cell lines it is possible to quantitatively assess drug flux through tumour tissue in a controlled environment. In addition, markers of proliferation or apoptosis can be used to assess the effects of drugs on the cells at different distances from tumour blood vessels. Numerous studies have now been published using this application for a variety of anti-cancer drugs including radiosensitizers, hypoxic cytotoxins, DNA-intercalators, etc.

Results from these experiments can be used for direct comparison of drug penetration between two or more drugs, or used to estimate rates of diffusion and consumption within the tissue.


Please contact the Pharmacology Core (pharma@bcprc.ca) for more information.

  Pharmacology Service Request Form