3D nanoSIMS project will provide high-resolution label-free imaging to reliably see where drugs go to in cells for the first time.
The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), working with major pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, has initiated a project called 3D nanoSIMS to develop a label-free molecular imaging instrument with unmatched spatial resolution, capable of measuring the intracellular drug distribution.
At present, imaging techniques cannot image beyond micron resolution without adding special chemical labels to the drug molecule. Unfortunately, these labels can significantly affect the drug's behaviour giving too much uncertainty in the image. This project aims to provide label-free molecular imaging in 3D through enhancing imaging sensitivity by 100 times and increasing the spatial resolution to 50 nm.
Currently, one of the major challenges to the pharmaceutical industry is the measurement of the intracellular drug concentration. This powerful new instrument could help identify where drugs go at the cellular level, even within specific organelles, answering long-standing questions about whether drug concentration are sufficiently high in the right places to have a therapeutic effect, or if the medicine is lodging within cellular components and causing toxicity. If anomalies were spotted earlier it might help to explain toxicities or lack of efficacy of a medicine and reduce costly late-stage failures.
The new instrument will be based at The UK's National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry Imaging (NiCE-MSI), established by NPL and the University of Nottingham.
Professor Ian Gilmore from NPL says: "This project represents significant EU and UK investment in the UK's already thriving life sciences sector, and emphasises NPL's expertise in this field. There is no technology in the world at the moment that can achieve what this project aims to do. The new instrument will provide an unprecedented
|Contact: Alex Cloney|
National Physical Laboratory