Hayward, CA June 26, 2001 A new high-throughput cell analysis tool capable of measuring hundreds to thousands of cellular properties simultaneously has been developed by scientists at Biolog, Inc., who report their work in the July issue of the journal Genome Research. The new Phenotype MicroArrayTM (PM) technology permits the study of a wide range of cell properties (phenotypes) as a means of understanding how a gene or a drug affects living cells a critical step in identifying new drug targets and developing safe and effective new drugs.
The Genome Research article describes the use of PMs to determine the function of genes one of the most important applications of the new technology. Researchers can use PMs to analyze gene function by conducting a very detailed comparison of two cell lines one of which has been modified by a genetic change and directly measuring the cellular response to that change. In Genome Research, Biolog scientists report tests conducted in the cell model bacterium E. coli. Using PMs, the scientists were able to detect the expected changes in cellular response, known as phenotypic changes, associated with genes whose function was already known. More importantly, the PMs were able to detect several unexpected phenotypes as well, leading the researchers to make new discoveries about gene function.
Given the recent explosion of genes sequenced, there is a critical need to quickly, efficiently and accurately characterize and sort through the thousands of genes that are now proposed as potential drug targets, said Barry Bochner, Ph.D., Biolog chairman and vice president of research and development. By providing rapid and detailed answers to how a gene of unknown function affects a cell at the physiological level, Phenotype MicroArrays can greatly accelerate the critical step of evaluating potential drug targets. In addition, this technology can help to protect biological discoveries, since the ability to patent a gen
Contact: Tim Mullane