Author : Karen O'Hanlon Cohrt

Written on Mar, 22, 2019 by in , ,

Welcome back to our cell of the month series. This time we’re talking about CD34+ cells, a type of undifferentiated multipotent hematopoetic stem cell (HSC) with the potential to differentiate into almost any other blood cell type under specific conditions. As stem cells, CD34+ cells naturally have the capacity for self-renewal, allowing them to divide and replicate indefinitely, making them a highly valuable source of hematopoetic cells in research and clinical settings. However, the CD34+ cell population in blood is extremely small, and is estimated to represent less than 0.5% of all other blood cell types.

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Most of us will remember from high school biology class that kidneys comprise part of the excretory system and function in toxin removal, maintaining electrolyte homeostasis and regulating the body’s acid-base balance. Beyond this, proper kidney function is also critical for the secretion of several important hormones such as erythropoietin and renin, which regulate red blood cell production and arterial blood pressure, respectively. Given the complex roles of the kidney, it’s no surprise that its structure is just as complex with many different parts and cell types working together to carry out its functions.  (more…)

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Written on Jan, 16, 2019 by in ,

Welcome back to the drug discovery series! In this post, we journey through target validation and assay development and validation for compound screening!

Target Validation

As mentioned earlier in the series, most small molecule drugs function by modulating the activity of their particular target protein(s). Targets may be identified in a number of ways, for example, through studying disease pathophysiology to find disease-relevant pathways, or using genome and transcriptome analysis to identify proteins that are differentially expressed and/or aberrantly translated during disease. The early stages of any drug discovery effort must include extensive target validation, ideally through a broad combination of in vitro and in vivo (animal models), cellular and ‘omics’ approaches (1).

Compound Screening  – Assay Design and Optimization

Compound screening is often carried out on a large scale, where millions of library compounds are screened. Screening on this scale is known as high throughput screening (HTS). If less than millions of compounds are deployed, one should consider low-to-medium throughput or collections of compounds. During screening, compounds are assayed for interactions with the target, typically in 96-, 384-, or 1536-well format. The nature of the interaction that is assayed between a compound and the target may be inhibition, activation, modulating, or binding.

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