ChanTest to increase range of ion channel services

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Ion channel Cell Cell membrane Protein

Ion channel expert ChanTest is expanding its range of ion channel services and cell lines that help identify promising target compounds and those that could cause harmful side effects.

The CRO (contract research organisation) specialises in designing testing programmes that help pharmaceutical customers meet drug safety and regulatory goals as well as providing discovery screening services for customers targeting conditions such as hypertension, arrhythmia, epilepsy, diabetes.

Ion channel testing has become a standard part of regulatory submission prior to the approval of drugs for human use since they were shown to be the ‘off targets’ responsible for adverse cardiac events linked a number of non-cardiac drugs.

Ion channels are pore forming proteins that help establish and control the voltage gradient that exists across the plasma membranes of all living cells by regulating the flow of ions through them.

There are more than 400 human genes that encode for ion channels and these represent either drug targets or unintentional targets that can lead to unwanted cardiac side effects.

These side effects can lead to impairment of cardiac repolarisation and a prolonging of the QT interval as measured in an electrocardiogram (ECG).

According to the company, an independent market survey voted ChanTest "The World's Most Trusted Ion Channel Services Company" in both 2006 and 2007 and aims to develop the world’s most comprehensive library of ion channel-expressing cell lines, with each cell line being thought of as an “ion channel book.”

"We are developing a library of ion channel-expressing cell lines for screening with the full range of automated patch clamp instruments and FLIPR-Tetra (from MDS),"​ said Dr Arthur Brown.

"At present, 86 'books' are available and 160 will be available by June 2009. We validate each cell line for cDNA sequence, Western blot, voltage range, gating, and pharmacology. “

The company will be exhibiting at the Assays and Cellular Targets​ conference in San Diego, US, September 24 to 26, as well as presenting a case study entitled "Screening Ion Channels for Safety and Efficacy” as part of the conference’s Ion Channel Targets track.

“We recognize that each research program has its own unique needs and priorities, so we've designed our services and cell lines to offer the most flexibility possible,”​ said Dr Brown.

Our validated ion channels can be mixed and matched into panels according to tissue, e.g., cardiac; therapeutic area, e.g., pain; and ion channel family, e.g., TRP (transient receptor potential) channels. And we draw upon our years of ion channel experience to help customers design an appropriate testing program to meet their specific scientific and budgetary goals."

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