Asterand Offers Researchers Internet Access to RNA to Speed Drug Discovery
News Mar 07, 2007
Asterand, the Detroit based biobanking company is offering research scientists simple access to human RNA samples via the internet.
“This is a valuable new service to help scientists focused on early stage drug discovery,” says Dr Victoria Blanc Asterand’s Director of Product Development.
“The first RNA samples available through Asterand’s e-commerce site (http://solutions.asterand.com) include those from common cancers such as breast and colon cancer. Over time we will be adding thousands of RNA samples from a wide range of diseases.”
“The value of RNA analysis is that it is an effective way of differentiating between the diseased state and normal state of tissues. Our provision of this material over the internet expedites the process of identification of novel cellular targets for drug development.
“The high quality RNA coupled with the ease of acquisition is important because the isolation of the RNA is complete, the RNA integrity has been evaluated and approved, and therefore experiments can be planned and executed without delays.”
“We are providing scientists with unique and unusual material. Each sample of total RNA is from an individual donor, supplied in 5 µg aliquots. Asterand standard clinical data are provided with every sample, along with pathology report details, so that the clinical context of the RNA can be understood.
Each sample has been quality assured by use of the Agilent Bioanalyzer and confirmed to have an RNA integrity number of at least 6, and in tumor samples, no less than 70% tumor cells. This ensures that the materials are suitable for all forms of gene expression analysis – from Northern blots, to TaqMan to Affymetrix chips.
“Over the last several years we have gained a great deal of experience in processing hundreds of thousands of samples of RNA,” says Dr Anja Penger, Director of Biomaterials, and head of the RNA project at Asterand’s UK facility in Royston, UK. “Our team has high throughput capacity for measuring and aliquotting samples, bar-coding and distribution. We are very excited to be able to provide the RNA with the efficiency of online sales.”
As genome editing technologies advance toward clinical therapies, they are raising hopes of a completely new way to treat disease. However, challenges need to be addressed before potential treatments can be widely used in patients. To tackle these challenges, the National Institutes of Health has launched the Somatic Cell Genome Editing program, which has awarded multiple grants including more than $3.6 million to assess the safety of genome editing in human cells and tissues.