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iPoration: Effective Cell Transfection in Physiologically Relevant Context

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Primax announces the launch of a novel transfection technology that enables life scientists to study the role of genes or proteins in more physiologically relevant cellular contexts.

The technology, named iPoration, was presented last month at the annual meeting of American Society for Cell Biology, and was recently featured as one of the innovations in transfection byGenetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.

"iPoration is a fundamentally improved electroporation method," says Primax's Chief Technical Officer, Jeff Xi. "Unlike traditional electroporation, where a short high-voltage pulse is used on a cell suspension, iPoration applies precise electrical current to cells, such that the cells can adapt to the stimulus by opening tiny pores on their membranes for an optimal period of time."

Such techniques allow scientists to introduce DNA or RNA into cells to turn on or off specific genetic instructions, pointing the way to gene therapies for otherwise untreatable disorders.

To gain entry for biomolecules such as DNA, RNA, and proteins, scientists can use viruses as Trojan horses. Fatty molecules called lipids can also breach the membrane barrier. Or electroporation can briefly open the membrane. But crafting a virus to work oftentimes disrupts certain cellular processes and is tedious and involves biohazards. Lipid and other chemical techniques work for immortalized cell lines but generate certain noise around a desired signal. And conventional electroporation kills a lot of cells.

"The iPoration delivers high transfection efficiency with virtually no cell damage," says Xi, "compared to the typical 30-60 percent of cells that get killed by traditional electroporation."

"Under iPoration, cells determine their own fate, and they certainly choose to live." Xi adds.

David Schaffer, Ph.D., Professor at UC Berkeley, says, "one of the major problems with electroporation, and transfection in general, is high toxicity. I am enthused about the potential," he says, "for a new technique with higher delivery efficacy and higher cell survival, which may moderate the cost of siRNA experiments."

"With iPoration, bio-molecules are actively driven into the cell," Xi says, as compared to the purely passive diffusion that takes place with traditional electroporation, "this approach significantly increases delivery efficiency for charged molecules such as DNA and RNA." Cells functioning in their own specialized roles, that is, differentiated, have accepted RNA molecules at high delivery efficiencies with iPoration. "We can introduce DNA and RNA into cells in conditions close to their own physiological state," said Primax Chief Scientific Officer, Minjie Hu, Ph.D., "no other technology on the market can do this."