In a new development in drug testing, scientists have designed a way to enhance drug safety by detecting the levels of stress on cells much earlier than currently used methods. Most of the conventional drug safety methods depend on evaluating dead cells, which by itself is not an entirely accurate method.
New Sensor Technology
The newer technique can detect cellular stress levels through the use of a fluorescent sensor that can be activated inside a cell, once the mis-folded proteins in the cell start to group together. One of the key advantages of this method lies in its ability to predict cell death rather than simply noting cell death. This can be a valuable advancement in the study on toxins that destroy cells, along with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s and similar illnesses. The innovation was explained by the researchers in the study from Penn State University, in the Angewandte Chemie International Edition. According to one of the scientists, Zin Zhang, protein stress caused by drugs is a crucial determinant is the evaluation of the safety of a drug. These protein aggregates were the key to finding out earlier stages of cell deterioration and helped realize the goal of the study.
Cell Stress Level Detector in the Making
One of the other key advantages of the study, according to team member Yu Liu, is the ability of actually quantifying the level of stress on the cells, through finding out the level of fluorescence generated by the aggregation of protein. Additionally, the use of fluorescence makes it a lot easier to study due to it not needing a microscope. This makes it easier to use technologies such as plate readers that can essentially enhance the throughput of further studies.