Fast Instruments to Discover New Drugs

Wednesday, 02 August, 2000

CSIRO and Axon Instruments Inc. have announced that they will collaborate in the development CellPix, a system for rapidly screening pharmaceutical drugs.

Researchers looking for new drugs must screen them for effects on human and animal cells. The CellPix system works by capturing and analysing images of cells using chemical fluorescence to mark cellular features. Under different conditions, different parts of the cell become visible enabling researchers to compare the effects of many potential drugs on many features.

Automatically processing these images is a highly specialised and computationally intensive which is very demanding. The CSIRO will be developing techniques to selectively identify various cellular components - nucleus, cytoplasm, mitochondria etc - and then to classify and interpret their characteristics.

The CellPix system will be used for drug discovery based on measurements of a range of cellular characteristics including cell shape, neurite outgrowth, changes in adhesion and other morphological changes.

CellPix will assist the drug discovery industry to develop new tests to be applied to potential drugs and to apply them as a higher-throughput screening system.

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