Brainwave-Discovery goes robotic
Chemical screening in a living organism is essential if new advances are to be made towards Alzheimer's therapy. Fruit flies with human Alzheimer's toxic proteins in their brains provide the fastest way to screen chemicals for Alzheimer's disease in a living organism. Many scientific studies show that the neurotoxic mechanisms of Alzheimer's are conserved between fly and mammalian neurons. Brainwave-Discovery can screen thousands of compounds in a few months, opening the way to large-scale searches for chemicals active against this disease.
Now, with the support of Scottish Enterprise, Brainwave-Discovery has invested in a robotic system that will make chemical screening even faster. One of the major bottlenecks in the screening process is the handling of liquids in the assay set-up, which has to be done every few days since our behavioural assays involve measurements over the ageing process. Liquid food and chemicals must be dispensed accurately in many replicates. This is a task ideally suited to automation, and Brainwave-Discovery scientists led by Dr. Kostas Lagogiannis have now developed customised hardware and software, specifically designed for our Alzheimer's disease drug discovery assays, to achieve this.
Following the movement for Open Labware, we developed our own automated pipetting platform based on an open-source gantry robot design. This is a standalone platform that allows us to mount standard laboratory pipettes and execute laborious drug and medium dispensing procedures accurately and repeatably. The robot can easily be reprogrammed by a user to run new procedures. Our in-house open-source development allows us to customise the design to meet future automation needs: for example, by exchanging the end-effector for an embryo dispenser. We will also be able to take advantage of further community developments concerning robot design.
Robots work all night, and the number of robots can be scaled as necessary. Brainwave-Discovery will now be able to test more chemicals faster than before. This is one big step forward in our development of end-to-end automated screening for Alzheimer's disease therapeutics in the fruit fly. Brainwave-Discovery is the go to company for testing your chemical assets for activity against this major disease, opening a huge market opportunity.
Brainwave-Discovery Ltd. has Drosophila models of human wild type and mutant ABeta42 and tau toxicity. Our established humanisation procedures allow the construction of new models if partners have a particular gene focus. We can help you screen your compounds for activity against ABeta42 and/or tau-mediated neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease. For more information check out www.brainwave-discovery.com or contact email@example.com
Acknowledgement. The technology introduced here has been funded in part by support from a Scottish Enterprise SMART: SCOTLAND feasibility grant.