Jonathan West a micro-engineer and his colleagues at the University of Dortmund in Germany, has developed the new microarray chip which can test an estimated 30,000 chemicals their toxicological risk.
Called a Network Formation Assay (NFA), the chip lets researchers test compounds faster and more reliably. A normal drug test takes up to 10 hours because each compound is tested 30 times at 10 different doses. With this new chip, it will take just a few hours at most.
This approach involves patterning neuronal cells within a hexagonal array to standardize the distance between neighbouring cellular nodes, and thereby standardize the length of the neurite interconnections. This feature coupled with defined assay coordinates provides a streamlined display for rapid and sensitive analysis
The invention includes a new protocol for the detection of the neurite outgrowth, which requires neither fixation nor staining of cells.
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