Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cheaper drugs and better health care with a single chip

Date:
March 15, 2012
Source:
Florida State University
Summary:
A researcher is developing technologies to miniaturize the first phase of a process used by pharmaceutical companies to discover new drugs. A breakthrough could ultimately lead to personalized and therefore more effective medical treatments, as well as major health care savings.

New technology being developed at Florida State University could significantly decrease the cost of drug discovery, potentially leading to increased access to high-quality health care and cancer patients receiving personalized chemotherapy treatments.

Related Articles


The details, which are spelled out in a recent publication of the journal Biomaterials, outline the work of Steven Lenhert, a Florida State biology assistant professor and principal investigator on the research effort.

"Right now, cancer patients receive chemotherapy treatments that are based on the accumulated knowledge of what has worked best for people with similar cancers," Lenhert said. "This is the case because hospitals don't have the technology to test thousands of different chemotherapy mixtures on the tumor cells of an individual patient. This technology could give them access to that capability, making the treatments truly personalized and much more effective."

Cancer treatments are costly and often difficult to prescribe. Steven Lenhert, a Florida State University Assistant Professor of Biological Science, believes the solution to rising costs and impersonal care lies in small plate the size of a computer chip-and he's got the research to back it up.

The key to Lenhert's invention is miniaturizing the first phase of a process used by pharmaceutical companies to discover new drugs. Right now, these companies use large, specialized laboratories to test hundreds of thousands of compounds on different cell cultures in a process known as high throughput screening. The equipment and manpower cost is substantial, even though only a tiny fraction of the compounds will ever make it to the next phase of testing.

Lenhert's technology miniaturizes that process by printing all of the compounds on a single glass surface and testing them on cells using an innovative technique involving liposome microarrays, which are basically collections of drug-containing oil drops on a surface. If fully employed in the pharmaceutical industry, this technology would make the cost of this expensive process a thousand times cheaper, creating the potential for personalized cancer treatments, lower-cost medicine and more affordable, higher-quality health care options.

"In looking at the first phase of the drug-discovery process, it struck me how, in this age of extreme miniaturization, we are still using rooms full of robots and equipment to test drug compounds," Lenhert said. "It reminded me of the early days of computers where you needed huge, room-spanning pieces of hardware to do the most mundane tasks. I said, 'There has to be a better way.'"

Lenhert's nanotechnology has been demonstrated as a proof of concept on a small scale with cells commonly grown in university laboratories. His research group is now working on scaling their technology up to the high levels needed to achieve medically relevant benefits. For personalized medicine applications, the "lab on a chip" technology could then be applied to cells obtained from patients through biopsies so doctors can determine which drugs will work on a particular patient. Depending on funding, Lenhert expects that the technology could be made commercially available after two years of development.

"We have taken an important first step in making liposome microarray technology viable for the pharmaceutical and medical industries," said Aubrey Kusi-Appiah, a graduate student in Lenhert's research group and first author on the published work. "We have established that it can be done."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Florida State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Aubrey E. Kusi-Appiah, Nicholas Vafai, Paula J. Cranfill, Michael W. Davidson, Steven Lenhert. Lipid multilayer microarrays for invitro liposomal drug delivery and screening. Biomaterials, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.02.023

Cite This Page:

Florida State University. "Cheaper drugs and better health care with a single chip." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120315095809.htm>.
Florida State University. (2012, March 15). Cheaper drugs and better health care with a single chip. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120315095809.htm
Florida State University. "Cheaper drugs and better health care with a single chip." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120315095809.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Rural Sierra Leone the Red Cross Battles Ebola

In Rural Sierra Leone the Red Cross Battles Ebola

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) The Red Cross battles the Ebola virus in rural Sierra Leone and its fallout. In one treatment centre in the city of Kenema, the Red Cross also runs a kindergarten. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins