Economic Benefits of Cold Plasma Technology
Charles A. Lunn, Ph.D., and Jean Shieh
Genetic Engineering News, Mar 15, 2013 (Vol. 6, No. 33) View GEN Tutorials
The Use of Cold Plasma Technology to Reduce Carryover in Screening Assays
Mohammed Akhlaq, Elizabeth M. Rosethorne, Afrah Sattikar and Toby C. Kent
Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Horsham, UK
The accurate transfer of biological reagents represents a fundamental step in the drug screening process, and the elimination of carryover is critical for the generation of accurate measurements of biological activity. The introduction of automated liquid robotics into screening laboratories has transformed the drug screening process, enabling accurate and reproducible transfer of liquids to become a high-throughput activity, but has also introduced a new challenge for drug discoverers: to establish screening workflows that limit analyte carryover for the generation of high-quality screening data. The widespread use of pipetting tips on automated liquid handlers often necessitates the use of optimized wash protocols for removing contaminants and frequently requires the use and disposal of large quantities of organic solvents. Furthermore, many chemical and biological reagents are recalcitrant to removal from pipetting tips by treatment with organic solvents. The use of cold atmospheric plasma technology provides an alternative approach for removal of contaminants and offers many advantages over traditional decontamination protocols commonly used during biological screening. This report describes the evaluation of a cold plasma tip-cleaning system for reducing carryover in a range of biological screening assays requiring the transfer of low molecular weight compound, nucleic acid, and bacterial liquid transfers. The validation of this technology for biological screening assays is presented, and the impact of this technology for screening workflows is discussed.