Services

Standard Analysis

  • Panel of standard 2D assays based upon key human cells and disease targets
  • Assays focused on core functional indices e.g. viable cell number, apoptosis, cytotoxicity
  • Scalable delivery, from one sample to hundreds
  • Competitively priced, with rapid turn-around of samples

Analytical Readouts

  • Range of analytical readouts based on flourescence or chemiluminescence techniques
  • Analysis measurements ranging from generic indices of cell health to cell-type specific activities at protein or gene expression level
  • Inflammatory response reporting in immune cell populations using reporter constructs designed and optimised for primary cell use (in development)
  • Analytical targets customised according to client requirements

3D models and co-culture systems

  • Customised options incorporating 3D cell models e.g. 3D human primary cancer models
  • Barrier model incorporating human upper or lower respiratory airway primary cells
  • Barrier model incorporating human colonic epithelial primary cells, based upon colonoid precursers (small intestinal model under development)
  • Co-culture systems with dual modalities e.g. intestinal absorption + target cell function

Population based analysis

  • Analytical techniques use optical sectioning and image deconvolution
  • Techniques score cell populations / sub-populations in 3D or other complex culture models in multiwell formats
  • Analytical tools score cells based upon cell-marker, viability, metabolic activity, cell-signal or gene expression based responses

Natural product testing

  • Cell-based analysis platforms adapted for biomaterials derived from the natural environment
  • Sample pre-screening to ensure readout fidelity
  • Analytical capablity ranging from crude extracts to purified biomolecules
  • Bioactivity-driven purification of novel bioactivities
  • Experience with materials ranging from marine microbial extracts through tropical and temperate plant extracts to Traditional Chinese Medicines

Nanosafety

  • Cell-based analysis platforms adapted for testing of nanoparticles and nano-objects
  • Mammalian cell models based upon barrier tissue models
  • Non-mammalian cell models incorporating immune cells from sentinel marine species
  • Strategic partnerships with nanosafety specialists via EU Horizon 2020 ETN project “PANDORA”

Systems suitable for study of:

Biosafety

  • Biosafety measured as cytotoxic damage to primary human cells relevant to tissues impacted by test materials
  • Range of target human cell types available: liver, gut, lung, vasculature, others
  • Biosafety measured as damage to tissue repair mechanisms, using human tissue-relevant [mesenchymal] stem cell-based system
  • Biosafety applicable in preclinical testing of candidate therapeutics, quality control of production, screening for impact of environmental contaminants

Inflammation

  • Screening for inflammatory impact or anti-inflammatory potential
  • Inflammation measured as production of reactive oxygen species and/or induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines in human immune cells
  • Analysis options include medium-throughput whole human blood-based screening, human CD14+ monocyte (immune) cells isolated from normal human blood, human dendritic cell-based tools
  • Single cytokine or multiplexed cytokine bead-based analyses available
  • Applicable to samples ranging from small molecule drug candidates to complex natural products and traditional medicines

Anti-cancer

  • Evaluates therapeutic potential in the treatment of cancer
  • Range of human primary cancer cell-based models available: breast, lung, brain (glioblastoma), liver, colon and others
  • Conventional 2D models or 3D models with enhanced predictive value
  • Analytical readouts ranging from simple indices of cell health to cancer-relevant molecular targets using cell marker or PCR-based assay
  • Applied successfully to samples ranging from small molecule drug candidates to complex natural products and traditional medicines

Absorption

  • Evaluates uptake of drugs, natural products or other materials across mucosal barriers
  • Uptake measured as transport of fluorescently-tagged or biotinylated material across cell monolayers formed on permeable membranes
  • Range of mucosal options available: lung, colon, small intestine (under development)
  • Co-culture option enables dual study of candidate absorption and post-absorption target cell effect
  • Absorption across epithelial monolayers also available, including breast epithelium

Anti-diabetes (Type I)

  • Evaluates candidate therapeutic potential as enhancer of glucose-sensitive insulin secretion
  • Measures pancreatic β-cell sensitivity in vitro to glucose-stimulated insulin secretion
  • Analytical platform based upon human pancreatic islets exhibiting mobilisation of intracellular insulin stores in response to glucose challenge
  • Test sample effect compared with known insulin secretory stimulants

Anti-diabetes (Type II)

  • Evaluates candidate therapeutic potential in terms of insulin sensitization of peripheral tissues
  • Measures glucose uptake as intracellular accumulation of fluorescent non-metabolised glucose analogue
  • Range of insulin-sensitive peripheral cell types available, including human primary adipocytes (from pre-adipocyte precursors) and myocytes (from myoblast precursors)
  • Applied successfully to samples ranging from small molecule drug candidates to complex natural products and traditional medicines

Hypertension

  • Evaluates anti-hypertensive effects in human vascular endothelial cells produced from endothelial precursor populations
  • Measured as inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), a key enzyme in the control of vasoconstriction / vasodilation
  • Applied successfully in preclinical evaluation of samples ranging from small molecule drug candidates to complex natural products

Fibrosis

  • Evaluates test materials for potential to cause tissue damage by induction of fibrosis
  • Analysis based upon fibroblast / myofibroblast conversion by cell population analysis or direct measurement of extracellular matrix deposition by collagen lattice assay
  • Range of fibroblast cell types available representative of human organs with fibrotic susceptibility

Stem cell toxicity

  • Evaluates candidate therapeutic effect on key cell types with pluripotent or multipotent functionality involved in tissue repair
  • Measures toxic potential in terms of proliferation in 2D or 3D cell models
  • Analysis of stem cell pluri-/multipotent status also available

Wound healing

  • Evaluates candidate therapeutic promotion of wound healing activity
  • Measures wound-healing activity as cell migration into cleared cell-free “wound” area in vitro
  • Migration assay incorporates human primary epidermal keratinocytes
  • Assay capable of testing small-molecule candidates drugs and also proven in use with complex natural products

Anabolic activity

  • Evaluates ability of drugs, natural products, food components to stimulate anabolic activity in muscle
  • Measures anabolic stimulation as human primary myoblast cell growth or myoblast maturation into mature muscle cells
  • Applied successfully in evaluation of food components derived from novel natural products

Target specificity

  • Evaluates candidate therapeutic specificity by comparing on-target effect on diseased cell with off-target effect on proximal-normal cell type(s)
  • Several paired-assay systems available, including breast cancer, lung cancer/COPD, colon cancer; other options in development
  • Applied successfully in preclinical evaluation of samples ranging from small molecule drug candidates to complex natural products

Contract Research

  • Client-commissioned production of unusual human primary cell types
  • Development of customised analytical models
  • Bioactivity-driven purification of active components from complex mixtures e.g. natural products
  • Contract manufacturing e.g. large-scale production of human frozen cell stocks