Bottles, glasses, and hot dishes may soon be a thing of the past in medicinal chemistry laboratories. Instead of handling a few experiments at a desk, scientists can only blow a microchip in a computer and instantly run thousands of chemical reactions, with results – literally shrinking the laboratory to the size of a fingernail.
To that end, a team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have developed a technology to carry out more than a thousand chemical reactions at a time in a major label, controlled by computer chip, which could accelerate the identification of potential drug candidates to treat diseases like cancer. The results of their study appear in the journal Lab on a Chip.
Title of multidisciplinary hsian se-Rong Tseng, Ph.D., member of the Nanosystems Biology Cancer Center, one of eight Centers of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence established by the National Cancer Institute. His laboratory uses miniaturized and microfluidic channel to automatically handle small amounts of liquids and chemicals. Chemical reactions were performed using the chemical, click on the ground, a technique often used to identify potential drug molecules that bind tightly to enzymes, proteins to activate or inhibit the effect of a cell, and analyzed using spectrometry mass.
Traditionally, only certain chemical reactions could be produced on a chip, but the research team pioneered the way to initiate multiple reactions, thus providing a new method to quickly screen the molecules of the drug may work more effectively with an enzyme the specific protein. In this study, the scientists produced a chip capable of 1024 reactions simultaneously, in a test system, ably identified potent inhibitors of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase bovine.
One thousand cycles of complex processes, including control of sampling and mixing of a library of reagents and washing the microchannel sequentially occurred in the microchip device and was completed within hours. For now, the UCLA team is limited to considering the reaction of the results offline, but in the future, they intend to automate this aspect of the work too.
“Molecules precious enzyme required for a single click in the reaction in a traditional on-site laboratory can now be divided into hundreds of copies to perform hundreds of reactions in parallel, which revolutionized the laboratory process, reducing the consumption of reagents, and accelerate the process to identify potential drug candidates, “said Dr. Tseng. Next steps for the team to explore the use of microchip technology to detect the reactions of others in which chemical and material samples in limited quantities, for example, a class of enzymes called protein kinases, which play a crucial role in the malignant transformation of cancer.
This work, detailed in the document “A microfluidic device for large-scale integrated chemical detection situclick” was supported by the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, a global initiative designed to accelerate the implementation of the nanotechnology in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Researchers at Siemens Medical Solutions and the University of Wuhan, China also participated in this study. A summary is available on the website of the magazine.