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Chipping away at toxicity screening

  1. Top of page
  2. Chipping away at toxicity screening
  3. The good things in life are (cell) free
  4. It's what's inside that counts

Lee and Sung, Biotechnol. J. 2013, 11, 1258–1266.

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The ultimate marketability of any pharmaceutical is dependent upon its in vivo toxicology and effectiveness. In vivo testing of drugs is both time-consuming and costly. Microtechnology offers the possibility of mimicking the microscale nature of the human tissue environment, potentially inducing cells to behave as they do in vivo, and thus resulting in more physiologically realistic models. In this issue, Lee and Sung describe “organ-on-a-chip” technology and summarize how these more human-like in vitro systems can be used as model to accurately predict the effects of drugs on the body. They also discuss the integration of individual organ-on-a-chip devices, which can simulate the complex interactions between multiple organs. The concept of pharmacokinetic – pharmacodynamic modeling for understanding and analyzing the dynamics of organ interaction is introduced and the technical challenges that remain to be overcome are also discussed.

The good things in life are (cell) free

  1. Top of page
  2. Chipping away at toxicity screening
  3. The good things in life are (cell) free
  4. It's what's inside that counts

Lee and Kim, Biotechnol. J. 2013, 11, 1292–1300.

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The widening gap between the vast database of genetic information and our understanding of the functions of these sequences demands breakthrough methods for the high-throughput expression and analysis of genes. Cell-free protein synthesis is a highly productive and economical method for protein production. In this issue Lee and Kim review the advantages of cell-free protein synthesis and discuss recent efforts to integrate this synthetic approach with a variety of emerging assay platforms. This integrative approach – harnessing the synthetic power of biology directly to analytical devices such as microfluidic platforms and microarrays – can accelerate the elucidation of protein function, as well as enable the monitoring, analysis and engineering of protein synthesis at the molecular level.

It's what's inside that counts

  1. Top of page
  2. Chipping away at toxicity screening
  3. The good things in life are (cell) free
  4. It's what's inside that counts

Lee et al., Biotechnol. J. 2013, 11, 1301–1314.

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Microalgae are promising sources of biofuels as well as a number of important substances, including lipids, pigments, proteins, and several high-value products. However, obtaining the intracellular composition of microalgal samples remains time-consuming and labor-intensive. This has been a limiting factor in the commercial production of microalgal products. Despite considerable endeavor to advance the current analytical techniques, a straightforward detection method that can provide comprehensive information about the cellular contents of microalgae has yet to be established. In this issue, Lee et al. summarize current high-throughput analysis methods for determining the cellular content of microalgal biomass. The contribution of these methods to academic research and industrial applications are addressed, as are the limitations of the current methods. The authors also provide suggestions for future developments that could enhance the efficiency of cell content analysis and subsequently increase the economic viability of microalgal products.