What are Cell based Assays?

Contrary to biochemical assays that analyze the cell lysate, Cell based assays measure different parameters of fixed or living cells. Cell based assays can be used to determine the growth rate of a cell population and the pathways and how they interact within a cell. These assays are used in various stages of drug discovery and development, due to their flexibility, adaptability, and versatility. For example, Cell based assays are commonly utilized in spatiotemporal analysis to understand the modifications that are associated with proliferating cells. We, at NorthEast BioLab, use Cell based assay development for sub-cellular localization and drug discovery screening in pharmaceutical development.

Cell based assay development is utilized to analyze the cytotoxicity of a chemical compound or observe its toxic impact on the human body. Since biotherapeutics have several functional domains that can interact with different molecules to achieve optimum functioning, Cell based assays are favored during the development of biologics. For example, a protein may have a functioning domain which stimulates cell internalization or activates a transcription factor. This makes it necessary to test these domains and related functions of the drug compound before product release. In the final stages of the study, these functional domains may be tested on a living organism, animal, or human volunteer. Initially, however, the biological activity is tested through Cell based assays.

Cell Proliferation, Viability, and Toxicity Assays

Cell-based assays are used to understand the processes occurring at the cellular levels, such as cell proliferation assays and viability assays that measure the growth and activity of cell populations. At NorthEast BioLab, we offer the three types of Cell based assays explained below.

Cell Proliferation Assay

Cell proliferation is a natural process which divides and increases the number of cells in the human body. This process helps in maintaining an equilibrium against cell-death for healthy body functioning. Therefore, typical cell proliferation rates are critical to the human body. In diseases such as cancer, cells may have varying cell proliferation rates.

Cell proliferation within the body can be measured using the metabolic activity of the cell population. At NorthEast BioLab, we use various dyes such as MTT and WST-1 that lead to cell permeabilization. Through an enzyme reaction, the end-product of the experiment is a color that forms the basis for the measurement of cell proliferation.

Often, our scientists use fluorescence dyes whenever high sensitivity is required for drug discovery and development. These dyes exhibit higher sensitivity when compared to the cell proliferation assay developed using colorimetric dyes. The fluorescent dye method is beneficial while comparing the small differences in the cell proliferation rates of two cell populations.

Cell Viability Assay

Cell viability assays are used to relate cell number and cell behavior in a population, offering a clear understanding of healthy cell structure, enzyme activity, and cellular metabolism. For example, using cell viability tests, scientists can measure the anabolic activity of the Cell.

Cell viability measurements play an essential role in drug discovery and development. In fact, in toxicity assay, measuring cell viability is the primary purpose of the experiment.

Various methods are used for cell viability assays such as TMRE, MTT, ATP luminescence, and calcein violet. The viable method is generally decided through several factors such as complexity, speed, and equipment cost.

Cell Toxicity Assay

Cell toxicity assays are used to assess the toxicity of drug compounds. When cells in the human body are exposed to cytotoxic compounds, they can undergo apoptosis, necrosis, or lose membrane integrity. Cell death may harm cell populations and various bodily functions. Hence, Drug candidates that are too toxic are eliminated in subsequent drug discovery phases. That said, if the drug aims at reducing select cell proliferation, cell toxicity may be desirable as in cancer therapeutics.

Role of Cell-based Assays during Drug Discovery, Preclinical, and Clinical Phases

Cell based assays are extensively used in drug discovery and development, as this method provides feedback from experiments with living cells. These tests include various types of assays, some of which are already discussed above, such as toxicity assay, cell proliferation assay, motility assays, etc.

Cell based assays allow scientists to monitor cell behavior and achieve accurate quantitation of cellular pathways. Undoubtedly, the obtained insights from these experiments facilitate drug development across various phases such as discovery, preclinical, and clinical. Thus, Cell based assay development can be critical in quickly identifying potentially viable drug candidates while eliminating the need for multiple screening methods.

A few applications of Cell based assays in drug discovery and development are as under:

  • Identifying antiviral and antimicrobial compounds
  • Evaluating non-toxic and toxic drug substances
  • Detecting viral contaminations harmful to the body
  • Recognizing pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs)
  • Screening pathogen recognition receptor antagonists and agonists

Cell based assays are used in measurements of various biological markers critical to drug discovery and development. At NorthEast BioLab, we implement Cell based assays using clinical and FDA-approved standards.

Why Choose NorthEast BioLab for Your Cell Proliferation, Viability, and Toxicity Assays?

NorthEast BioLab offers several Cell based assays used in different phases of drug discovery and development. From target validation to lead optimization, Cell based assays (including cell proliferation, cell viability, and cell toxicity assays) help achieve quick iterations in drug discovery and development. In addition to the identification of new drugs, effective Cell based assays are used to determine the potency, efficacy, safety, selectivity, and specificity of these drugs. Furthermore, our scientists ensure that your tailored research is conducted thoroughly, FDA-guidelines are followed attentively, the viability and toxicity of your drug compounds are assessed correctly. This attention to detail helps us deliver rapid and reliable results to our clients every time.