Visikol Launches Oncology Drug Screening Services Through its 3Screen™ Portfolio
Recently, Visikol, a contract research organization focused on digital pathology and optical imaging built out its 3D and 2D cell culture capabilities such that it can offer best-in-class quantitative in vitro services to its pharmaceutical clients through its 3Screen platform. The company is now launching a suite of oncology drug screening services that leverage 3D cell culture models to improve the predictive capability of in vitro efficacy assays.
The space of 3D cell culture models has rapidly grown over the last five years as researchers have demonstrated that crucial aspects of the in vivo microenvironment are more easily reproduced in 3D culture, and thus can allow researchers to better predict the efficacy and toxicity of a drug compound or therapeutic antibody in vivo. Visikol Chief Science Officer Dr. Thomas Villani explains:
“When we compare 2D versus 3D cell culture models, we see that the 3D models recapitulate relevant transport processes, nutrient gradients, and expression profiles more closely than traditional 2D cell culture models. We recently showed that 3D cell culture models, which express estrogen receptor (ER) exhibit dramatically different responses to estrogen receptor (ER)-targeting therapeutics than 2D cell culture models, which failed to express detectable levels of ER. Since the particular tumor type from which this cell line was developed expressed ER in vivo, this really underscores the enhanced predictive capacity that 3D cell culture models offer.”
Given the implications that these higher-order 3D models have for improving the efficiency and efficacy of drug screening, Visikol has launched a comprehensive suite of in vitro services to provide pharmaceutical clients more predictive assays for their drug screening campaigns.
Visikol Director of In Vitro Services Dr. Erin Edwards describes the Visikol approach to 3D cell culture model services as unique in the marketplace: “First and foremost, our patented Visikol® HISTO-M™ clearing technology enables improved imaging quality, which allows us to use customized image processing algorithms to offer really quantitative, digestible insights into the data, which is particularly important in the high-content screening space. Moreover, we try to take a really agnostic approach to 3D cell culture models and their analysis. As a company, we will never develop our own proprietary 3D cell culture models and instead strive to develop models and analytical techniques which meet the specific cost, throughput, validation criteria, and in-vivo relevancy requirements of our clients. We’ve found that this flexibility in our cell culturing capabilities has really allowed our clients to address their research questions with a precision they can count on.”
Visikol recognizes that 3D cell culture models are far from miniature organs in a dish and that each individual research question requires a unique approach. The Visikol 3Screen portfolio of in vitro services spans a wide-range of analytical approaches from imaging-based high content screening (confocal and widefield) to high throughput ATP assays with simple to highly complex models.
Dr. Michael Johnson, Visikol’s Chief Executive Officer explains “We are very excited to launch this unique service portfolio, which includes our cell viability and proliferation assays in the oncology space, as they will provide our pharmaceutical clients higher confidence that results from high-throughput, low-cost in vitro studies will translate into ground-breaking in vivo insights.”
Visikol is focused on accelerating drug discovery through quantitative histopathology and using their patented Visikol HISTO tissue clearing technology to transform tissues into three dimensional data sets that can be mined for actionable insights. When paired with fluorescent labeling and 3D microscopy, Visikol® HISTO™ allows tissues such as 3D cell culture models or whole tissues to be imaged in their entirety in 3D. Visikol has leveraged this technology to launch 3Screen™ which is a high-throughput 3D imaging platform capable of transforming tissues into 3D data sets and answering complex biological questions. The addition of 3D histological information to the drug discovery workflow allows for complex features such as vasculature networks to be quantitatively analyzed in 3D or for the penetration kinetics of antibodies into tumor models to be understood. The company currently offers 3Screen™ as a service to pharmaceutical/biotech companies and is continually focused on improving the platform as well as building out a suite of standardized assays. In addition to this service offering, Visikol also sells various tissue clearing reagents and kits for academic researchers that are interested in adopting the approach into their own workflows. For more information about Visikol® or 3Screen™, please visit our website at visikol.com.
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Dr. Michael Johnson
Chief Executive Officer
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