Cell-based screenings are used today in all types of clinical developments and safety assessment of new drugs and chemicals. The major change in the last decade is a shift towards more physiologically relevant yet complex and sensitive cell models, like stem cells, and more recently, the shift to human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). Stem cell technology has the potential to revolutionize drug discovery and safety assessment, and opens up the path for personalized medicine and regenerative medicine approaches.
DropTech® is a collaborative project funded by the European Commission with more than €5.2M in funding within the FP7 programme. It began on February 1st, 2014 and will be completed after 36 months. DropTech® is coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT), Germany. DropTech® aims to develop automated production and handling processes for stem cells (e.g. hiPSCs) in hanging drops with integrated readout methods, required for the use of stem cells in high throughput assays such as the embryonic stem cell test (EST) used in toxicity testing.
The fully automated DropTech® platform will allow controlling cell culture conditions in very small volumes, and will hence be usable for reproducible and standardised high throughput screening in a variety of applications, ranging from lead compound identification over toxicity testing to cell preparation for regenerative medicine.
DropTech® will contribute to the development of new medication and therapies and enable reliable safety assessment.
Screening with the DropTech® platform will:
- be reproducible, standardised, fast and efficient
- use cell models with highest biological relevance (hiPSCs) in their native conformation
- be affordable for SMEs and academia
- contribute to the 3R’s with regard to animal testing.