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Researchers study how chemicals in drugs and around us impact stem cells
Date:1/17/2012

g or other product reaches the market. The test will be done without the use of animals and at speeds far faster than current tests.

"When you look at the toxicity of drugs or other chemicals in our environment, you want to understand the response that all the different cells in the body have to that compound," Dordick said. "Most current toxicity screens used by manufacturers focus on a narrow range of cell types. Stem cells typically have not been included, although there is now a rapidly growing interest in the pharmaceutical industry in using such cells. This greatly limits our understanding of what a new drug or chemical will have on the body. Vast amounts of money are wasted on the failed development process and, more importantly, people's health could be unknowingly put at risk."

Dordick notes that this paradigm may be proving a reality in the case of many cancer drugs.

"Chemotherapy is pretty effective at killing cancer cells, but it also damages other cell types in the process," he said. "In fact, when some of these treatments are complete, the ability of certain organs to regenerate is compromised, which may be due to selective damage to such organs' stem cells. With this grant, we hope to better understand this to help weigh the pros and cons of different treatments."

To perform the research, the team will utilize what is known as lab-on-a-chip technology. The technology allows for the swift testing of thousands of different chemicals on the surface of one simple, small chip. The chip used in the work is similar in appearance to a traditional glass microscope slide. Its specialized surface includes hundreds of microscale spots of stem cell cultures. Different chemicals can then be added to each of these culture spots. The stem cells will then be analyzed for their reaction. In this manner, hundreds of different chemicals, including drugs and drug combinations, can be tested on a single chip. The technology also elimina
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Contact: Gabrielle DeMarco
demarg@rpi.edu
518-276-6542
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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