Singapore, May 9, 2012 Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), the world's first bioengineering and nanotechnology research institute, have developed a miniaturized biochip for investigating the effect of drugs on cancer stem cells (CSCs). Published recently in Nano Today, this new technology could boost the development of more effective cancer drugs.
In a tumor, CSCs form a small and distinct class of cancer cells that are more resistant to chemotherapy. Similar to stem cells found in human tissues, CSCs can produce and differentiate into different cell types. If CSCs are not eradicated, they can repopulate the tumor and lead to cancer recurrence. Hence, it is important for researchers to understand the efficacy of anti-cancer drugs against CSCs. However, since CSCs are so scarce they make up approximately 1% of cancer cells their study has been hampered by conventional drug screening methods, which require large sample volumes and are slow and expensive.
A team of researchers led by IBN Executive Director, Professor Jackie Y. Ying, has developed a miniaturized biological assay called the Droplet Array to perform cheaper, faster and more convenient drug screening using limited samples.
In traditional biological assays, microplates a flat plate with multiple wells in which samples are placed are commonly used, and each well requires at least 2,500 or 5,000 cells, to be present for viable analysis. By comparison, IBN's Droplet Array is a flat, rectangular glass plate on which a series of spots, each 2 millimeters in diameter, are arranged. The samples are pipetted into these tiny spots, making them appear like droplets. The plate is then coated with a layer of proprietary oil to prevent evaporation and cross contamination between the sample droplets during the rinsing process. An accompanying bench-top device to automate the rinsing process of the plate has also been developed. Being one-f
|Contact: Elena Tan|
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore