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Feature Articles : Apr 15, 2008 ( )
Roche All Set to Launch xCELLigence System
New Product Line Designed to Represent Next Generation of Cell-Based Assays
Beginning this summer, Roche Applied Science will launch the first of three novel, cell-based assay systems under the xCELLigence™ brand name. The products are built upon and represent improved versions of the current impedance-based RT-CES technology Roche acquired from Acea Biosciences last November.
“The technology provides unique insights into the functions of the cell,” says Jeffrey Emch, marketing manager, Roche Diagnostics, Roche Applied Science USA.
“Genomics and proteomics research in the drug discovery environment has not, for the most part, led to the degree of new compound development that people had expected. A lot of assays are coming back to focus on the cell to address this issue.”
The first product, RTCA SP, will be released in July. This is a single-plate station that will interface with a 96-well microelectronic E-plate®. The plate station fits inside a standard tissue-culture incubator, while an analyzer and laptop computer with newly designed software will be on the outside.
In September Roche will launch the RTCA MP. The difference here (MP stands for Mult-E-Plate) is that the plate station accepts six 96-well E-plates inside the incubator.
The RTCA DP (dual plate) cell-based assay system will make its debut in December. This dual purpose offering can accomodate a 3 x 16 E-plate product. In the DP system, the plate station and analyzer are combined into one unit and connect to a computer outside the incubator.
“The RTCA DP can run standard 16-well E-plates as well as the invasion migration plates. The invasion migration device is basically a modified Boyden chamber that can detect directional movement of cells across a membrane,” explains Emch.
“As the cells move in response to a stimulus, they come into contact with the microelectrodes at the bottom of the plate, and we can detect that through impedance measurement. The product can be used in cancer research (e.g., studying metastases and chemotactic signaling).”
Initial Focus on Drug Discovery
The xCELLigence systems will have an initial focus on drug discovery, including applications in compound screening and profiling, assay development, and preclinical toxicology. Another important area will be functional receptor analyses, especially those involving GPCRs.
The allure of this cell-based assay technology derives from two main features: it is label free and operates in real time, according to Yama Abassi, Ph.D., senior director of cell biology and assay development, Acea Biosciences, and one of the key players in developing the methodology. Labels can damage the cells and are often expensive, he points out, adding that radioactive labels also can be hazardous to your health and costly to dispose.
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