US20070172814A1 - Method of Testing the Safety and Efficacy of a Drug - Google Patents

Method of Testing the Safety and Efficacy of a Drug Download PDF

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US20070172814A1
US20070172814A1 US11/668,976 US66897607A US2007172814A1 US 20070172814 A1 US20070172814 A1 US 20070172814A1 US 66897607 A US66897607 A US 66897607A US 2007172814 A1 US2007172814 A1 US 2007172814A1
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drug
wells
method
cells
dose
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US11/668,976
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Albert Li
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Advanced Pharmaceutical Sciences Inc
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Advanced Pharmaceutical Sciences Inc
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Priority to US10/751,983 priority patent/US7186548B2/en
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Priority to US11/668,976 priority patent/US20070172814A1/en
Assigned to ADVANCED PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES, INC. reassignment ADVANCED PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: LI, ALBERT P.
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    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C12BIOCHEMISTRY; BEER; SPIRITS; WINE; VINEGAR; MICROBIOLOGY; ENZYMOLOGY; MUTATION OR GENETIC ENGINEERING
    • C12MAPPARATUS FOR ENZYMOLOGY OR MICROBIOLOGY; APPARATUS FOR CULTURING MICROORGANISMS FOR PRODUCING BIOMASS, FOR GROWING CELLS OR FOR OBTAINING FERMENTATION OR METABOLIC PRODUCTS, i.e. BIOREACTORS OR FERMENTERS
    • C12M35/00Means for application of stress for stimulating the growth of microorganisms or the generation of fermentation or metabolic products; Means for electroporation or cell fusion
    • C12M35/08Chemical, biochemical or biological means, e.g. plasma jet, co-culture
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C12BIOCHEMISTRY; BEER; SPIRITS; WINE; VINEGAR; MICROBIOLOGY; ENZYMOLOGY; MUTATION OR GENETIC ENGINEERING
    • C12MAPPARATUS FOR ENZYMOLOGY OR MICROBIOLOGY; APPARATUS FOR CULTURING MICROORGANISMS FOR PRODUCING BIOMASS, FOR GROWING CELLS OR FOR OBTAINING FERMENTATION OR METABOLIC PRODUCTS, i.e. BIOREACTORS OR FERMENTERS
    • C12M23/00Constructional details, e.g. recesses, hinges
    • C12M23/02Form or structure of the vessel
    • C12M23/12Well or multiwell plates
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C12BIOCHEMISTRY; BEER; SPIRITS; WINE; VINEGAR; MICROBIOLOGY; ENZYMOLOGY; MUTATION OR GENETIC ENGINEERING
    • C12MAPPARATUS FOR ENZYMOLOGY OR MICROBIOLOGY; APPARATUS FOR CULTURING MICROORGANISMS FOR PRODUCING BIOMASS, FOR GROWING CELLS OR FOR OBTAINING FERMENTATION OR METABOLIC PRODUCTS, i.e. BIOREACTORS OR FERMENTERS
    • C12M25/00Means for supporting, enclosing or fixing the microorganisms, e.g. immunocoatings
    • C12M25/02Membranes; Filters
    • C12M25/04Membranes; Filters in combination with well or multiwell plates, i.e. culture inserts

Abstract

A method of testing the safety and efficacy of a drug in a culture tray having a plurality of wells surrounded by a chamber wall configured to contain a liquid volume. The method includes depositing different cells of an organism in separate wells of the culture dish, depositing a harmful agent in another of the wells, interconnecting the wells via a fluid medium and introducing a dose of the drug into the fluid medium.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/751,983 filed on Jan. 7, 2004, and claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/754,327 filed on Dec. 29, 2005, and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/518,331 filed Nov. 10, 2003, which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention relates to tissue culture vessels and, more particularly, comprises a new and improved tissue culture vessel for co-culturing of multiple types of cells and tissues and the application of the cell culture device in biological studies, including application in drug discovery and development.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Culture tools, such as, for example, dishes, plates, flasks, and other types of vessels, are widely used in the laboratory for a variety of purposes. In normal use, cell and tissue culturing involves the use of agar or medium, which covers the bottom of a well. Cells are routinely cultured in research laboratories for basic biochemical and cell biology research to further understand natural biological processes. More recent uses of cell culture systems have been in drug discovery and development in order to test for pharmacological and toxicological effects of drug candidates. This work generally is a monoculture test process, for example, cells of one type are grown in a suitable medium in a tissue culture vessel such as a well, a plate or a flask.
  • A normal cell culture plate consists of a chamber with a flat bottom surrounded by vertical walls to allow filling of the chamber with liquid and a removable cover to retain humidity and to protect against contamination. As shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, a commonly used multi-well plate 100 has six identical wells 110. Although the wells 110 can be formed integrally, as by injection or blow molding for example, a preferred method of manufacture is to form the plate 100 with an upper tray 120 which defines the volume contained in each well and a lower or bottom tray 130 which defines the bottom surface of each well. The well 110 depth, together with the diameter of the well 110, determines the fluid capacity of each well 110. Typically for example, each well 110 in a six well plate is about 0.35 cm. in diameter and 2.0 cm. deep and the wells are preferably arranged in a 2 by 3 regular rectangular array.
  • As shown in FIG. 1B, cells 140 are deposited in the bottom of each of the wells 110. A fluid 150 is then added to cover the cells 140.
  • Cell culture systems, commonly known as in vitro systems, are used extensively in drug discovery and development for the evaluation of drug properties. For example, cell culture systems are used to evaluate drug efficacy, drug metabolism, or drug toxicity. However, it is also recognized that an in vitro system may not accurately predict in vivo effects due to the lack of the complexity and interplay of biological processes for in vitro systems. For example, by using primary liver cells (hepatocytes) in culture, the effect of a substance on liver cells can be evaluated. However, in vivo, the substance may be metabolized by other organs such as the kidneys, and the resulting metabolite may have a different effect on liver cells which would not be detected by using liver cells alone. For this reason, interest has developed in the co-culture of cells. Co-culturing involves growing one population of cells in the presence of another population of cells. Cell co-culturing has been applied in a myriad of biological studies. In pharmacology and toxicology, co-culturing of a target cell, such as, for example, cancer cells, with cells from a critical organ, such as, for example, the liver, allows the evaluation of the effect of a chemical on the target cells after its modification by cells from the critical organ, such as, for example, liver metabolism of a specific drug or drug candidate. Using the normal cell culture plate, co-culture methods are achieved by mixing the different cell types or by the use of membranes to allow two cell types to be cultured on both sides of the membrane. Evaluation of the individual cell types after being physically mixed or by using membranes can be highly difficult and tedious. Thus, a need exists for a new cell culture tool that facilitates cell co-culturing.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In one general aspect, a cell culture tool includes a body, an outer wall extending from the body, and more than one vessel defined by the configuration of the body. Each vessel has a top edge below a rim of the outer wall.
  • Implementation may include one or more of the following features. For example, the body may have a flat surface with each vessel comprising a depression in the flat surface of the body, the depression configured to contain a volume of fluid. The vessel may have a cylindrical wall and a circular bottom and the outer surface of the body may be in the shape of a rectangular plate. The height of the outer wall may be about 20 millimeters.
  • In one implementation, each vessel comprises a cup connected to the body, each cup having a top edge below the rim of the outer wall. In another implementation, the vessel includes a container having a container wall with a top edge, the height of the container wall being about 4 millimeters. In a further implementation, each vessel comprises a partition wall dividing the space defined within the perimeter of the outer wall, the partition wall having a top edge.
  • In another general aspect, a multi-well culture dish includes a base having a flat surface with a plurality of wells and an outer wall surrounding the base. Each of the wells includes a containing wall with a height lower than the height of the outer wall. Implementation may include one or more of the features described above and the dish may also include six wells.
  • In another general aspect, multiple culture vessels can be connected using tubing with or without a device, such as, for example, a pump, to circulate the fluid.
  • In another general aspect, a method of interacting a substance with more than one type of cell material in a culture dish having a plurality of wells includes depositing a different type of the cell material in separate wells of the culture dish, interconnecting the wells with a fluid medium, and adding the substance to the fluid medium. In various implementations, the substance may include a chemical or a drug.
  • In another general aspect, a method of metabolizing a drug in a multi-well culture dish includes depositing different types of cell material in separate wells of the multi-well culture dish, connecting the separate wells with a fluid media, and introducing the drug into the fluid media.
  • Implementation may include one or more of the following features or any of the features described above. For example, the cell material may include liver, kidney, spleen or lung cells, any cells that can be cultured, and/or tissue fragments or fractions.
  • In another general aspect, a method of metabolizing a drug in a cell culture dish having a body with six wells and a wall surrounding the six wells includes depositing kidney cells in a first of the six wells, liver cells in a second of the six wells, heart cells in a third of the six wells, lung cells in a fourth of the six wells, spleen cells in a fifth of the six wells, and brain cells in a sixth of the six wells, filling the dish with a fluid medium to fluidly interconnect the six wells, and introducing the drug into the fluid medium.
  • In another general aspect, a method of co-culturing different cells in individual wells includes overfilling each well to fluidly interconnect the wells so the different cells in the individual wells communicate through a common fluid medium.
  • The method may include various implementations. For example, the different cells in the individual wells comprise liver cells in a first well, kidney cells in a second well, heart cells in a third well, spleen cells in a fourth well, brain cells in a fifth well, and lung cells in a sixth well. In another implementation, the different cells in the individual wells comprise liver cells in a first, second and third well and heart cells in a fourth, fifth, and sixth well. In a further implementation, the method includes introducing a substance into the common fluid medium so that the different cells in the individual wells are in contact with the same substance.
  • In another general aspect, a method of testing the safety and efficacy of a drug in a culture dish having separate wells includes depositing different cells of an organism in the separate wells of the culture dish, depositing a harmful agent in another of the separate wells, interconnecting the separate wells with a fluid medium, and introducing a dose of the drug into the fluid medium.
  • The method may include one or more of the following features or any of the features described above. For example, the method may include determining whether the different cells of the organism are harmed by the dose of the drug, determining whether the harmful agent is diminished by the dose of the drug, and/or increasing the dose of the drug if the different cells of the organism are not harmed and the harmful agent is not diminished.
  • The harmful agent may include tumor cells and the drug may include an anti-tumor medication. The different cells of the organism may include liver, kidney, heart, lung, spleen, and/or brain cells of the human body.
  • The method may further include increasing the dose of the drug until the drug harms the different cells of the organism and designating the dose of the drug at which the different cells of the organism are harmed as a toxic dose level. The method also may include increasing the dose of the drug until the effect of the harmful agent is reduced and designating the dose of the drug at which the effect of the harmful agent is reduced as an effective dose level.
  • The harmful agent may be cholesterol, the drug may be an anti-cholesterol drug, and the different cells may include liver cells. In another implementation, the harmful agent includes cancer cells and the drug is an anti-cancer medication that has an undesirable toxicity above a certain dose.
  • In another general aspect, a method of co-culturing cells in a multi-well dish includes culturing a first cell type in a first well of the multi-well dish and culturing a second cell type in a second well of the multi-well dish. The cells cultured in the second well may provide metabolites that benefit the growth of the first cell type.
  • In another general aspect, a method of evaluating whether a first cell type can enhance the growth of a second cell type includes culturing the first cell type in a first well, culturing the second cell type in a second well, fluidly interconnecting the first well and the second well, and examining the impact of the cultured first cell type on the growth of the second cell type.
  • The cell culture tool provides a convenient way for multiple cell types to be co-cultured but yet physically separate so that the individual cell types can be evaluated separately after co-culturing in the absence of the co-cultured cells.
  • The tool allows the culturing of cells in individual wells under different conditions, such as, for example, different attachment substrate, different media, or different cell types, followed by allowing the different wells to intercommunicate via a common medium. After culturing as an integrated culture with a common medium, the medium can be removed, and each well can be subjected to independent, specific manipulations, such as, for example, lysis with detergent for the measurement of specific biochemicals or fixation and staining for morphological evaluation.
  • As described above in the method, an application is the culturing of multiple primary cells from different organs (e.g. liver, heart, kidney, spleen, neurons, blood vessel lining cells, thyroidal cells, adrenal cells, iris cells, cancer cells) so the plate, after the establishment of individual cell types and flooding, represents an in vitro experimental model of a whole animal. Another application of the culture tool is to evaluate the effect of a substance on multiple cell types. In drug discovery and development, this culture system can be used to evaluate metabolism of a new drug or drug candidate by cells from multiple organs or the effect of a drug or drug candidate on the function and viability of cells from multiple organs. An example of this application is to culture cells from multiple organs along with tumor cells, followed by treatment of the co-culture with an anticancer agent to evaluate toxicity of the agent to the cells of the different organs in comparison with its toxicity towards the cancer cells to evaluate the therapeutic index of the agent. In other words, each plate simulates the treatment of a whole animal with the anticancer agent followed by examination of each organ. Multiple tumor cell types can also be used to evaluate the efficacy of the tested drug or drug candidate on different types of tumors.
  • The tool can be utilized for the culturing of cells which require exogenous factors from other cell types without physically mixing the cell types, as the different cell types are placed in different wells, with the overlaying medium allowing the exchange of metabolites and/or secreted biomolecules.
  • In one general aspect, a method of culturing different cell types from a single organ in a cell culture tool having more than one well includes depositing the different cell types from the single organ in separate wells, culturing the different cell types in the separate wells and filling the cell culture tool to fluidly interconnect the wells.
  • Embodiments may include one or more of the following features. For example, the method may include introducing a substance, such as, a drug candidate, an environmental pollutant or an industrial chemical, into the fluidly interconnected wells and evaluating a pharmacological effect of the substance on the different cell types.
  • As another embodiment, the method may include introducing a substance into the fluidly interconnected wells and evaluating a toxic effect of the substance on the different cell types.
  • The method of separately culturing the cells may be performed by adding a fluid medium to the individual wells.
  • As another embodiment, the method may include introducing a harmful agent into the fluidly interconnected wells and adding a therapeutic drug to the fluidly interconnected wells to determine whether any of the cell types is harmed by the dose of the drug. It may also include determining whether an effect of the harmful agent is diminished by the dose of the drug and/or increasing the dose of the drug if it does not may the cell types and the effect of the harmful agent is not diminished.
  • Another feature may include increasing the dose of the drug until it causes harm to at least one of the cell types and designating the dose of the drug at which at least one of the cell types is harmed as a toxic dose level. In addition, the method may include increasing the dose of the drug until the effect of the harmful agent is reduced and designating the dose of the drug at which the effect of the harmful agent is reduced as an effective dose level.
  • The cell culture tool may have at least three wells. The method can be employed using the three cell culture tool for various experiments. For example, if the single organ is a lung the different cell types placed in separate wells may include capillary cells lining the pulmonary blood vessels or microvascular endothelial cells in a first well, epithelial cells lining small airways in a second well and epithelial cells lining the large airways in a third well.
  • In another experiment the organ is an eye and the different cell types are retinal cells, corneal cells and conjunctiva cells. In still another experiment, the organ comprises a kidney and the different cell types comprise renal proximal tubule cells, distal proximal tubule cells and glomeruli cells.
  • A four well cell culture tool may be employed for other experiments, such as, for example, when the tested organ is a liver and the different cell types comprise parenchymal cells, ito cells, kuffer cells and endothelial cells.
  • The various features described above are intended to be illustrative and the method should not be interpreted as being limited to the described embodiments. For example, a cell culture tool having many more wells may be used as part of the method.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1A is a perspective view of a conventional multi-well culture plate;
  • FIG. 1B is a cross-section view of the conventional multi-well culture plate shown in FIG 1A;
  • FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a cell culture tool;
  • FIG. 2B is a cross-section view of the cell culture tool shown in FIG. 2A;
  • FIG. 3A is a perspective view of another embodiment of a cell culture tool;
  • FIG. 3B is a cross-section view of the cell culture tool shown in FIG. 3A;
  • FIG. 4A is a perspective view of a further embodiment of a cell culture tool;
  • FIG. 4B is a cross-section view of the cell culture tool shown in FIG. 4A;
  • FIG. 5A is a perspective view of a cell culture tool with separate chambers and multiple wells per chamber;
  • FIG. 5B is a cross-section view of the cell culture tool shown in FIG. 5A;
  • FIG. 6 shows part of an organ system of an animal;
  • FIG. 7 is a flow diagram of evaluating metabolism of an exogenous substance by multiple cell types;
  • FIG. 8 is a flow diagram of evaluating the toxicity of an exogenous substance on multiple cell types;
  • FIG. 9 is a flow diagram of establishing a therapeutic index of a drug; and
  • FIG. 10 shows a cell culture tool with an insert tray.
  • Reference numerals in the drawings correspond to numbers in the Detailed Description for ease of reference.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Implementations of the tool 200, 300, 400 embodying the current invention are shown in FIGS. 2A-5B and FIG. 10. The tool 200, 300, 400 includes multiple wells within each a type of cells can be cultured, but each well can be overfilled or flooded, so that the cells in the different wells can share a common medium. This is achieved by configuring each well as an indentation inside a larger plate (FIGS. 2A and 2B), placing short partitions inside a larger plate (FIGS. 3A and 3B), or placing small inserts inside a larger plate (FIGS. 4A and 4B). However, this invention can be applied to any multi-well format with any number of wells per plate.
  • Referring to FIGS. 2A and 2B, a multi-well tool 200 of the present invention comprises a body 205 having a substantially planar top surface 210, and an outer wall 215 extending from the body 205. Six wells 220 are formed in the body 205 by depressions in the top surface 210. Each well 220 has a containing wall 225 that may slant downward from or be perpendicular to the flat surface 210.
  • The overall dimensions of the tool 200 may be about 12.60 cm long and 8.40 cm wide. The body 205 may have a height of 0.20 cm, with the outer wall 215 extending upward from the flat surface 210 approximately 0.15 cm. The height of each containing wall 225 may be 0.05 cm. The wells 220 are configured in a regular array and are separated by approximately 0.02 cm. In another implementation (not shown), the wells are equi-distant from each other by positioning the wells around a circumference of a circle. The dimensions of the tool 200 are merely illustrative, however, the tool 200 is configured to allow overfilling of each well 220 in order to interconnect the wells 220 in a common fluid media while preventing the cells in the individual wells 220 from drowning.
  • Referring to FIGS. 3A and 3B, a multi-well tool 300 includes a body 305 having a planar top surface 310, surrounded by an outer wall 315. Partitions 320 are positioned on the top surface 310 to divide the space bounded by the outer wall 315 into six wells 325. The outer wall 315 extends upward 0.15 cm from the top surface 310 and the height of the partitions is approximately 0.05 cm. Thus, each well 325 can be overfilled to interconnect the wells 325 in a fluid medium.
  • The partitions 320 may be bonded to the top surface 310 and the outer wall 315. In another implementation, the partitions 320 may be removable.
  • Referring to FIGS. 4A and 4B, a multi-well tool 400 includes a body 405 having a planar top surface 410, surrounded by an outer wall 415. Inserts 420 are placed on the flat surface 410, with each insert defined by a bottom 425 and a containing wall 430. The height of the containing wall is about 0.05 cm and the height of the outer wall extends 0.15 cm from the top surface 410. In other implementations, the inserts 420 may comprise cups, dishes, or a tray that may be removed from the top surface 310.
  • The multi-well plates as described in FIGS. 2A-4B can be grouped to form a cell culture tray 500 as a single body 505 with multiple compartments or chambers 510 (FIGS. 5A and 5B), each compartment 510 having multiple wells 515, to allow experimentation with different cell selections, liquid medium, or a different exogenous substance in each compartment. Limiting walls 520 surrounding each compartment 510 are higher than the containing walls 525 of the individual wells 515 within that compartment 510, with the limiting walls 520 having a height of 0.20 cm and each well 515 inside the larger body 505 having a height of 0.04 cm.
  • The tool 200-500 may be formed of various suitable materials. In one implementation, the tool 200-500 is formed of a substantially rigid, water-insoluble, fluid-impervious, typically thermoplastic material substantially chemically non-reactive with the fluids to be employed in the assays to be carried out with the tool 200-500. The term “substantially rigid” as used herein is intended to mean that the material will resist deformation or warping under a light mechanical or thermal load, which deformation would prevent maintenance of the substantially planar surface, although the material may be somewhat elastic. Suitable materials include, for example, polystyrene or polyvinyl chloride with or without copolymers, polyethylenes, polystyrenes, polystyrene-acrylonitrile, polypropylene, polyvinylidine chloride, and similar materials. Polystyrene is a material that can be used as it is the common polymer used for cell culture vessels, inasmuch as it characterized by very low, non-specific protein binding, making it suitable for use with samples, such as, for example, blood, viruses and bacteria, incorporating one or more proteins of interest. Glass is also a suitable material, being used routinely in cell culture vessels and can be washed and sterilized after each use.
  • The cell culture tool can be used to test drug metabolism. As shown in FIG. 6, the major organs that are known to metabolize drugs are the liver 610, intestines and kidneys 620, whereas other organs such as the heart 630, spleen 640, lungs 650, and blood vessels 660 also possess specific metabolizing pathways. Referring to FIG. 7, method of using the cell culture tool includes evaluating metabolism of an exogenous substance by multiple cell types 700. Using the tool, the cells from major organs including the liver, intestines, kidneys, heart, spleen, lungs, and brain are placed in the multiple well plate, with cells from each organ placed separately in individual wells (operation 710). For example, in the six-well format, liver cells are placed in well 1, intestines in well 2, kidneys in well 3, heart in well 4, spleen in well 5 and lungs in well 6. Each cell type can be cultured (operation 720) using different attachment substrate and culture medium, for example, liver cells are best cultured on collagen and require supplementation with insulin and dexamethasone, spleen cells are cultured in agar suspension, etc. After each cell type is established, the plate can be “flooded” by overfilling each well (operation 730), with the cells from the different wells sharing a common liquid medium. The exogenous substance, such as, for example, a drug, a drug candidate, an environmental pollutant, or a natural product, can be added to the medium (operation 740) and incubated for specific time periods (operation 750). After incubation, the medium can be collected for the examination of the extent of metabolism (how much of the parent substance is remaining), or metabolic fate (what are the identities of the metabolites), using established analytical methods (operation 760).
  • Referring to FIG. 8, another method 800 of using the cell culture tool includes evaluating the toxicity of an exogenous substance on multiple cell types. The major organs that are susceptible to drug toxicity are the liver, intestines, kidneys, heart, spleen, lungs, and brain. Using the tool, the cells from the liver, intestines, kidneys, heart, spleen, lungs, brains and blood vessels, are placed in the multiple well plate (operation 810). Cells from each organ are placed in individual wells. For example, in an eight-well format, liver cells are placed in well 1, intestines in well 2, kidneys in well 3, heart in well 4, spleen in well 5, lungs in well 6, brain in well 7, and blood vessels in well 8. Each cell type can be cultured using a different attachment substrate and culture medium (operation 820), for example, liver cells are best cultured on collagen and require supplementation with insulin and dexamethasone, spleen cells are cultured in agar suspension, etc. After each cell type is established, the plate can be “flooded” by overfilling each well, with the cells from the different wells sharing a common liquid medium (operation 830). The exogenous substance, such as, for example, a drug, a drug candidate, an environmental pollutant, or a natural product, is added to the medium (operation 840). The mixture is then incubated for specific time periods (operation 850). After incubation, the medium can be removed, and each individual cell type can be evaluated for toxicity (operation 860) morphologically, such as, for example, microscopic analysis, and by a biochemical analysis, such as, for example, lysed with detergent for the measurement of ATP content of the cells in each individual well.
  • The cell culture tool can also be used to evaluate drug efficacy and safety. In drug discovery, intact cells are used as indicators of drug efficacy. For example, liver cells are used to evaluate the effect of a drug on cholesterol synthesis in order to develop a novel inhibitor of cholesterol synthesis as a drug to lower the cholesterol level in patients with high levels of cholesterol. A culture can be applied with cells from multiple organs as described above to evaluate the effects of a drug candidate on cholesterol synthesis in multiple organs. The method can be used to evaluate efficacy, metabolism and toxicity simultaneously using the culture system.
  • For example, a “therapeutic index” of a potential new drug to treat high cholesterol levels can be evaluated by using liver cells as indicator cells to determine the effectiveness and toxicity of the drug. Efficacy can be measured in the presence of metabolism of all key cell types, thereby mimicking an in vivo situation where metabolism may lower the efficacy (or increase the efficacy) of the new drug.
  • Referring to FIG. 9, a method 900 of establishing a therapeutic index of a drug includes depositing cells in separate wells of the multi-well plate (operation 910), depositing a harmful agent, such as, for example, tumor cells, in another of the wells (operation 920), interconnecting the wells with a fluid medium (operation 930), and adding a drug to the fluid medium (operation 940).
  • Safety is evaluated by determining the effect of the drug on the various organ cells (operation 950). If the drug damages any of the organ cells, the drug doseage is deemed to exceed a safe level (operation 960). If the healthy cells are intact, the effect of the drug to reduce the harmful agent is examined. If the harmful agent is reduced, the result is recorded as an effective dose level (operation 970). The dose of the drug is then increased (operation 980) and the process is repeated.
  • The tool also may be used in a high throughput screening (HTS) process to allow evaluation of a large number of potential drug candidates. In this method, a robotic system is utilized with multi-well plates to perform experimentation. By using a multi-compartment tool as described herein, HTS with co-cultured multiple cell types can be performed for efficacy, toxicity, and metabolism as described above.
  • Still a further method includes evaluation of co-culture conditions. Some cell types can enhance the culturing of an otherwise difficult to culture cell type. This is routinely performed by trial and error. Using the HTS format, the effects of different cell types on the growth of a difficult to culture cell can be examined. For example, to evaluate which cells are best to maintain the differentiation of cultured liver cells, liver cells can be co-cultured with cell type 1 (e.g. endothelial cells) in compartment 1; cell type 2 (e.g. 3T3 cells) in compartment 2, and so on. At the end of co-culturing, the properties of the liver cells can be evaluated without complications by the co-cultured cells.
  • Referring to FIG. 10, a cell culture tool 1000 is shown with an adaptation to measure drug absorption. The cell culture tool 1000 comprises a body 1105 having a substantially planar top surface 1110 surrounded by an outer wall 1115. Six wells 1120 are formed in the body 1105 by depressions in the top surface 1110. Each well 1120 has a containing wall 1125 that is perpendicular to the flat surface 1110.
  • An insert tray 1130 rests on a lip 1135 at the top of the outer wall 1115. The insert tray 1130 includes a chamber 1138 with a porous membrane 1145 that is positioned inside the outer wall 1115.
  • Intestinal cells 1140 are placed at the bottom of the chamber 1138 proximate to the membrane. When the tool 1000 is filled, the fluid level rises through the membrane 1140 and a drug 1150 is added to the chamber 1138. The drug 1150 is “absorbed” when it permeates the membrane 1140 to interact with the cells 1120. Thus, the amount of absorption can be measured to simulate absorption of the drug within the intestines.
  • Using the cell culture tool an in vitro model of a single organ can be co-cultured using multiple cell types from a single organ in a chamber. These in vitro models can be used in of biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, and toxicological studies.
  • Examples of the different types of single organ models include:
  • 1. In vitro lung model.
  • The lung organ consists of multiple cell types. For example, there are capillary cells lining the pulmonary blood vessels, epithelial cells lining the small airways, and epithelial cells lining the large airways. Current technologies in cell culture allow culturing of a single cell type or a mixture of cell types. The use of single cell types does not consider differential effects, for example, evaluation of the effects of an inhaled toxicant on the multiple cell types. The use of mixed culture renders it difficult to examine effects of a particular substance on a specific cell type as they are physically mixed.
  • The use of the cell culture tool co-culture system allows placement of a single cell type in an individual well. For example, the use of a cell culture tool with 6 wells in a chamber allows the placement of pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells in two wells, small airway epithelial cells in two wells and bronchial epithelial cells in two wells. A toxicant can be introduced into the wells, for example, cigarette smoke condensate, to examine its effect on the lung capillary endothelium, small airway epithelium and bronchial epithelium.
  • 2. In vitro eye chamber model.
  • Multiple cell types from the eye can be tested in the cell culture tool such as retinal cells, corneal cells and conjunctiva cells for the assessment of pharmacological and toxicity of substances in the eye. This can be used, for example, in the discovery of drugs for the treatment of eye diseases.
  • 3. In vitro liver model.
  • Multiple cell types from the liver in the cell culture tool such as parenchymal cells, ito cells, kuffer cells and endothelial cells can be cultured to evaluate the pharmacology, physiology and toxicity of various substances to the liver.
  • 4. In vitro kidney model.
  • Multiple cell types from the kidney can be cultured in the cell culture tool such as renal proximal tubule cells, distal proximal tubule cells and glomeruli cells to construct an in vitro model of the multicellular kidney for toxicity and pharmacological studies.
  • Since certain changes may be made in the above apparatus and process without departing from the scope of the invention herein involved, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawing shall be interpreted in an illustrative and not in a limiting sense. For example, advantageous results still could be achieved if steps of the disclosed techniques were performed in a different order and/or if components in the disclosed systems were combined in a different manner and/or replaced or supplemented by other components. Accordingly, other implementations are within the scope of the following claims.

Claims (20)

1. A method of testing the safety and efficacy of a drug in a culture tray having a plurality of wells surrounded by a chamber wall configured to contain a liquid volume, comprising:
depositing different cells of an organism in separate wells of the culture dish;
depositing a harmful agent in another of the wells;
interconnecting the wells via a fluid medium; and
introducing a dose of the drug into the fluid medium.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
determining whether the different cells of the organism are harmed by the dose of the drug.
3. The method of claim 2, further comprising:
determining whether growth of the harmful agent is diminished by the dose of the drug.
4. The method of claim 3, further comprising:
increasing the dose of the drug if the different cells of the organism are not harmed and the growth of the harmful agent is not diminished.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein the harmful agent comprises tumor cells.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein the drug comprises an anti-tumor medication.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein the different cells of the organism comprise liver, kidney, heart, lung, spleen, and brain cells of the human body.
8. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
increasing the dose of the drug until the drug harms the different cells of the organism; and
designating the dose of the drug at which the different cells of the organism are harmed as a toxic dose level.
9. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
increasing the dose of the drug until the effect of the harmful agent is reduced; and
designating the dose of the drug at which the effect of the harmful agent is reduced as an effective dose level.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the harmful agent comprises cholesterol;
the drug comprises an anti-cholesterol drug; and
the different cells include liver cells.
11. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the harmful agent comprises cancer cells; and
the drug includes an undesirable toxicity above a certain dose.
12. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
depositing one or more culture medium in the separate wells.
13. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
culturing the different cells in the separate wells.
14. A method of simultaneously conducting multiple tests of the safety and efficacy of a drug in a culture tray having more than one set of wells, each set of wells being segregated in a chamber, comprising:
depositing different cells of an organism in separate wells in each chamber;
depositing a harmful agent in one of the wells in each chamber;
interconnecting the wells in each chamber via a fluid medium; and
introducing a dose of the drug into the fluid medium in each chamber with the dose of the drug being varied in each chamber.
15. The method of claim 14, further comprising:
providing the tray segregated into 12 chamber units each having a chamber wall surrounding 8 of the wells.
16. The method of claim 14, further comprising:
providing the tray segregated into 64 chamber units each having a chamber wall surrounding 6 of the wells.
17. The method of claim 14, further comprising:
providing the tray segregated into 256 chamber units each having a chamber wall surrounding 6 of the wells.
18. The method of claim 14, further comprising:
depositing a one or more culture medium in the separate wells in each chamber.
19. The method of claim 14, further comprising:
culturing the different cells in the separate wells.
20. A method of testing the safety and efficacy of a drug in a culture tray having a plurality of wells surrounded by a chamber wall configured to contain a liquid volume, comprising:
depositing a first cell type in a first well and a second cell type in a second well;
depositing a harmful agent in a third well;
interconnecting the first, second and third well via a fluid medium contained by the chamber wall;
introducing a dose of the drug into the fluid medium;
determining whether the first cell type or the second cell type are harmed by the dose of the drug; and
determining whether growth of the harmful agent is inhibited by the dose of the drug.
US11/668,976 2003-11-10 2007-01-30 Method of Testing the Safety and Efficacy of a Drug Abandoned US20070172814A1 (en)

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US11/669,118 Abandoned US20070172944A1 (en) 2003-11-10 2007-01-30 Cell Culture Tool
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US20070172944A1 (en) 2007-07-26
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KR101037343B1 (en) 2011-05-26
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US20070178441A1 (en) 2007-08-02
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CN1875093B (en) 2010-05-26

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