In evaluating potential therapeutic candidates, it is crucial to understand early on in the discovery process if the candidates cause overall cytotoxicity. Furthermore, when evaluating therapeutic candidates that are designed to cause cell death (e.g. antineoplastic agents) in rapidly proliferating cancer cells, it is important to understand the cytotoxicity-induction of these compounds and their specificity (i.e. cancers cells vs. stromal cells).
At Visikol, we partner with our Clients to assist them with assessing the cytotoxicity of their compounds and antibodies using a wide range of cell culture models and assay endpoints. Typically, Clients transfer to Visikol plates of compounds or antibodies and work with the Visikol research team to identify a cell culture model that best meets their specific research needs. Profiling the cytotoxicity of test compounds on cell monolayers or 3D cell models involves measuring the viability of the cells using molecular probes which bind to dead cells. By using these probes combined with high content imaging, all the cells within a 2D or 3D cell culture models can be characterized. Furthermore, this viability staining can be multiplexed with secondary labeling for different cell types which allows for the determination of cytotoxicity specificity in multi-cell-type cell culture models (i.e. is my compound targeting cancer cells or generally all cells). Alternatively, this labeling can also be combined with markers for apoptosis, cell proliferation or other markers of interest depending on the research question at hand.
In addition to high content screening, Visikol offers cell viability quantification via higher throughput endpoints such as MTT and CellTiterGlo. However, we find that many of our Clients tend to choose 3D cell culture models for these assays as they effectively recapitulate the in vivo tumor environment and are an effective tool for the evaluation of cytotoxic effects of promising anti-cancer drug compounds. Additionally, assessment of cell viability is critical for the evaluation of the safety and toxicity of test compounds. Assaying the cytotoxicity of compounds in 3D hepatocellular models is an excellent method for identifying and eliminating lead compounds that possess toxic liabilities early in the drug discovery process.