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Biolog Announces Additional Phenotype MicroArray™ Capabilities for Mammalian Cells

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Biolog, Inc. has announced the expansion of its Phenotype MicroArray™ (PM) product line to enable nearly 1,500 simultaneous phenotypic assays of human and other mammalian cells.

PM technology is a powerful assay platform that allows phenotyping to be performed in a simple and comprehensive manner. Phenotypes are the biological properties of a cell that result from its genetic and epi-genetic blueprints. Tools for sequencing and manipulating cellular genetics are well advanced. More and better tools are needed to understand how genetic changes alter cellular phenotypes. PM technology is designed to fill that need.

The first PM assays for mammalian cells, released in December, 2005, measure the in vivo activity of about 400 potential energy producing pathways of cells. These assays are important for biologists working in many areas of biology R&D where they seek to understand the pathways involved in cellular energy production, their coordination and their regulation. This is fundamental to studies of metabolic disorders such as diabetes, obesity, and nutrition research where energy metabolism may be regulated improperly. Cancer and aging also have strong aspects of altered cellular energy metabolism.

Now Biolog has added capabilities to measure many more phenotypes as well as a greater diversity of phenotypes: nitrogen metabolism assays (approximately 300), ion, hormone, and metabolic effector assays (approximately 400), and cytotoxic anti-cancer drug assays (approximately 400). The assays for nitrogen, ion, and hormone metabolic effects extend the scope of Biolog's core focus by providing assays to assess important aspects of cellular metabolism.

The assays for cytotoxic chemicals are the first step toward expanding the assay technology into areas of basic and applied cancer research, toxicology, and chemical biology. The PM assays can be used with cell lines as well as with primary cells and do not require any modification or derivatization of the cell lines.

In addition to research, the PM technology is a fundamental tool for QC and Bioprocess development. Each cell type has different metabolic properties, which can be measured easily and with a high degree of reproducibility using PM assays. Different cell types can be distinguished and, if a cell changes during the course of subculturing, this can also be detected. Furthermore, PM technology provides a powerful tool for streamlining Bioprocess development.

Cells can easily be cultured and monitored under thousands of different conditions to optimize growth or productivity of cells secreting a product. Biolog has presented data at several Bioprocess conferences demonstrating improvements in growth of CHO cells and in secretion of monoclonal antibodies by hybridoma cells.

PM technology is by far the most powerful and versatile cell phenotyping tool available. "So-called high content screening technologies in fact measure a relatively small number of cellular traits," says Barry Bochner, Ph.D., Biolog's Chairman and CEO.

"Furthermore, these high content platforms typically require expensive, complex, and specialized microscopic or flow cytometric instrumentation. Biolog's PM testing format is based on cell respiration, a universal property of cells that can be measured easily with a robust chromogenic dye technology."