Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

A 384-pillar plate for metabolism-induced toxicity assays.

The EPA/NIH have awarded Dr. Moo-Yeal Lee with two consecutive grants for his research project: A 384-pillar plate for metabolism-induced toxicity assays. The first grant was for the Transform Tox Testing Challenge: Innovating for Metabolism, Stage I. Dr. Lee, with the help of Solidus Biosciences, Inc. was awarded $10,000 from July 8th, 2016 to January 26th, 2017. The second grant was for the Transform Tox Testing Challenge: Innovating for Metabolism, Stage II. Dr. Lee, working with 3D MicroArray, Inc. was awarded $100,000 from November 1st, 2017 to October 31st, 2018. The major goal of his research is to develop a 384-pillar plate platform with metabolizing enzymes for high-throughput screening of environmental toxicants susceptible to metabolism-induced toxicity.

Scientists from EPA, NCATS, and NIEHS/NTP are using high speed, automated screening technologies called high-throughput screening (HTS) assays to rapidly test whether some of the thousands of chemicals in use may affect human health. However, since current HTS assays do not fully incorporate chemical metabolism, they may miss chemicals that are metabolized to a more toxic form. To help capture that information, in January 2016, EPA launched the Transform Toxicity Testing Challenge along with their partners, the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and the National Toxicology Program housed within the National Institute for Environmental Health Science. The Transform Toxicity Challenge asked teams of scientists to develop techniques to retrofit existing HTS assays to incorporate processes that reflect how chemicals are broken down and metabolized by the body. After selecting semi-finalists in May 2017, the EPA and its partners have selected the Transform Toxicity Challenge Stage Two winners.

Dr. Moo-Yeal Lee, Cleveland State University and Mr. Rayton Gerald of 3D MicroArray, Inc. collaborated in Stage in I and II of the Transform Tox Testing Challenge. Dr. Lee has been developing a “microarray 3D bioprinting” technology, which is a robotic, high precision, cell printing technology manifested on a 384-pillar plate with sidewalls (384PillarPlate®). In an effort to generate predictive toxicity/efficacy data and to serve the global in vitro cell-based testing market, Dr. Lee and his group at Cleveland State has focused on developing the 384PillarPlate®, bioprinted human tissues on the 384PillarPlate® (TissuePlate®), and related toxicity assessment assays. The technology is best suited for creating miniaturized multicellular tissue structures and multiplexed cell-based assays for drug discovery. The 384PillarPlate® platform is a robust and flexible system for high-throughput screening of compound libraries and enables retrofitting of current cell-based toxicity tests to provide metabolic competence.

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