The scientists from NTP/NIEHS, NCATS, and EPA are using automated, high speed screening technologies called HTS or high-throughput screening assays to test rapidly whether some chemicals in use nowadays could affect the health of people. But, since the HTS assays don’t completely incorporate the chemical metabolism, they might miss chemicals, which are metabolized to a much toxic form.
To get that information, EPA launched Transform Tox Testing Challenge together with their partners. This asked the teams of scientists to make techniques to retrofit particular HTS assays to incorporate the processes that reflect on the ways how chemicals are metabolized and broken down by the body. After choosing some semi-finalists, EPA and their partners have chosen the winners for the second stage of the competition.
The winners have generated practical designs, which would bring everyone a step closer to turning existing, used commonly in the HTS assays into tests that would evaluate both metabolite and parent chemical effects in assay responses. Every winner received a prize of $100,000.
Some of the winners are:
- Cleveland State University’s Dr. Moo-Yeal Lee and 3D MicroArray Inc.’s Rayton Gerald
They collaborated in the first and second stage of the competition. Dr. Lee has developed microarray 3D bioprinting technology. It is a high-precision, robotic, and cell printing tech manifested on the 384-pillar plate with a sidewall. To generate the predictive efficacy or toxicity data and to serve the world in vitro cell-based testing industry, the doctor and his group at the Cleveland State focused on developing 384PillarPlate, related toxicity assays, and bioprinted human tissues. This technology is suited to make small multicellular structures of tissue as well as multiplexed cell-based assays to discover drugs. The platform of the technology is flexible and robust.
- Onexio Biosystems LLC’s Dr. Brian Johnson
He made the MICRO MT, which is a simple solution for Transforming Tox Testing Challenge. They used the natural metabolic activities of the cell lines of the human liver to mimic the way one’s body metabolizes chemicals in liver. It’s accomplished by the pending microtiter cell culture plates that are patented and allow high-throughput liver cell co-culture with the standard reporter assays.
- University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute’s Dr. Lawrence Vernetti
He used the cryopreserved droplets of competent and encapsulated hepatocytes of human in the delivery system that could be thawed as required for insertion of the ongoing assay. An extra benefit to this format is providing researchers the flexibility for customizing delivery system with their active cells with the use of the equipment found in high throughput screening labs.
- University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s Dr. Hongbing Wang
He created HPH or human primary hepatocyte target cell model through the use of the newly developed inverted system, which is co-culture and may be scaled up to HTS format, enabling the cell-based assays for screening to run in the environment that produces the relevant metabolites physiologically. Cultured HPH are known as one of the most practical and relevant models, which maintain capacity for the metabolism of drug through a variety of enzymes.