Translational research uses knowledge gained from basic biology and clinical trials and applies it to the development of techniques and tools to address critical medical needs. One of the essential prerequisites for translational research and drug discovery is the availability of a high content screening platform and the LIH is planning to establish patient-based disease modelling and high content screening platform together with the LCSB of the University of Luxembourg. This core platform will function as a central platform to facilitate validating patient disease modelling and developing potential drug candidates for the Luxembourgish biomedical research.
In this context LIH has proposed to acquire a “High Content Screening Platform”, particularly a “Microscope High Content Screening”, to visualise morphometric phenotypes which are widely used for high throughput screening/high content screening (HTS/HCS) drug discovery in big pharma companies.
Such high content screening platforms enable simultaneous 4-colour imaging of live and fixed cells in microplate formats, including 96, 384 and 1536-well format plates as well as on microscope slides.
In addition to the highest possible image resolution, this system provides fast imaging speed technologies. It can image each well of a 96-well plate using four colours within 2 minutes, and 384-well plates within less than 5 minutes. Also, it provides a fully incubated stage controlling temperature, CO2 and humidity, as well as an optional built-in kinetics module with disposable tip dispenser. It can be used as standalone and fully respond to the needs of complex disease modelling and assay development.
The high content screening platform will require the following personnel on the operational side: Two lead scientists with, 2 postdoctoral researchers and 3 technicians. It is foreseen that 1-2 additional postdoctoral researchers would join the platform in 2-3 years when the platform would be fully occupied. An estimated number of 10-15 external users per year spending approx. 1200-1500 hours are also envisaged.
The primary goal of the present program is to establish a fully operational & translational patient-based disease modelling and high content screening platform (PDM-HCS) in Luxembourg, enabling personalised early drug discovery with a capacity to run a maximum of 10 projects in parallel.
An interdisciplinary team of researchers, engineers and clinicians will approach the objective in a stepwise procedure covering 2 phases:
• Phase 1 (1st year): The initial phase aims in the establishment of a PDM-HCS platform enabling a workflow of up to 10 projects per year. The high content screening platform needs to be validated with predefined criteria. Thus, Standard Operating Protocols (SOP) will be established.
• Phase 2 (2nd - 4th year): After validation and establishment of SOP s, three disease-modelling projects will be selected and initiated.