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Eur J Pharm Sci. 2008 Oct 2;35(3):151-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2008.04.012. Epub 2008 May 21.

High-throughput screening of cell responses to biomaterials.

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Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Biomaterials have emerged as powerful regulators of the cellular microenvironment for drug discovery, tissue engineering research and chemical testing. Although biomaterial-based matrices control the cellular behavior, these matrices are still far from being optimal. In principle, efficacy of biomaterial development for the cell cultures can be improved by using high-throughput techniques that allow screening of a large number of materials and manipulate microenvironments in a controlled manner. Several cell responses such as toxicity, proliferation, and differentiation have been used to evaluate the biomaterials thus providing basis for further selection of the lead biomimetic materials or microenvironments. Although high-throughput techniques provide an initial screening of the desired properties, more detailed follow-up studies of the selected materials are required to understand the true value of a 'positive hit'. High-throughput methods may become important tools in the future development of biomaterials-based cell cultures that will enable more realistic pre-clinical prediction of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and toxicity. This is highly important, because predictive pre-clinical methods are needed to improve the high attrition rate of drug candidates during clinical testing.

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