High-throughput combination screening of drug candidates has become a critical and costly component of the cancer drug discovery process. Most cancer treatments administered to patients today rely on the combination of more than one drug. The multifaceted approach is designed to treat tumor cells in the primary site as well as the metastatic lesions and circulating tumor cells. Additionally, treatment with drug combinations can reduce some side effects and drug resistance.
To reach a viable cancer treatment, research groups must assess the synergistic, additive, and antagonistic effects of varying combinations of drugs at a range of concentrations across multiple cell lines. This is typically done in multiplexed experiments that require careful mapping of samples and reagents stored in library plates to wells of assay plates in complex matrices. The complexity required for these types of experiments often eliminates manual pipetting as a reliable liquid-handling method and quickly exposes the limitations of automated tip-based liquid handling. These factors have led to the establishment of acoustic liquid handling as a preferred method for preparing combination screening assays. With acoustic liquid handling, samples and reagents are rapidly transferred from any well of a library plate to any well of an assay plate in any arrangement, matrix, or layout necessary. Additionally the levels of miniaturization, precision, and accuracy achieved with acoustic liquid handling greatly lowers screening costs while increasing throughput—a significant boost of efficiency.
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