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Drug Discovery

Spectral Instruments develops and manufactures cooled CCD cameras that are used broadly in drug discovery.  From complex crystallography images to sensitive and rapid optical readouts in automated systems Spectral can develop custom cameras, or modify its current line of cooled CCD cameras to meet customers' needs.

Analytical Instrumentation

Scintillation proximity assays (SPA) are used for drug discovery. Compounds with radioactive labels are imaged in the presence of beads infused with scintillators (compounds that glow when exposed to ionizing radiation) that are coated with targets intended to mimic a protein or biological compound of interest. Normally, the radioactivity emitted from the tagged compounds is lost to the surrounding solution, but this changes if the potential drug compound interacts favorably with the target on the bead. Radiation emitted from the surface of the bead causes a low light signal that can be detected with our sensitive, custom CCD cameras as shown in the image above left.

In Vitro Optical Imaging

Well PlateHigh throughput drug screening requires the use of analytical equipment incorporating optical technologies that read a colorimetric change in a biological reaction such as drug binding. These screening systems are often automated and run in a well plate format from 32 wells up to 384 well format in higher volume systems. Spectral Instruments custom CCD cameras have been used to image these reactions to help scientists choose active compounds, or to differentiate the best clones of light producing cell lines that have been created for cancer research using glowing tumors in an in vivo imaging system. Spectral Instruments can create custom optical detectors in a variety of throughput modes and sensitivities to power these next generation analytical systems.

In Vivo Optical Imaging

In Vivo Imaging Spectral InstrumentsResearchers have created genetically altered cell lines and rodents that produce faint light signals when specific biological pathways are activated and deactivated. These biochemical pathways and associated receptors are relevant in a variety of diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. Light emission is commonly observed using custom CCD cameras to determine whether compounds have interacted with these biological targets. Companies performing drug discovery experiments commonly use Spectral Instruments cooled CCD cameras (800 and 850 Series) to observe light signals that demonstrate the efficacy of the drug interaction with a target biological compound or tumor.

Please see our partner Spectral Instruments Imaging for the latest in instrumentation development for this application.

Cryogenically Cooled Cameras

The 850 Series was designed using a thermoelectric (Peltier) cooling to specifically to match the imaging performance of the cryogenically cooled cameras in a smaller package.  Shown at left is an anesthetized mouse that has been bred to grow a specific tumor. Upon injection with the proper substrate for the light generating enzyme, the tumor will glow in response to the drug interaction, These faint light emissions can be detected with our custom CCD cameras. with 10-20 minute exposures through the skin, fur and other tissues of the mouse. Scintillation proximity assays (SPA) are also used for drug discovery. Compounds with radioactive labels are tested in the presence of beads infused with scintillators (compounds that glow when exposed to ionizing radiation) that are coated with targets intended to mimic a protein or biological compound of interest. Normally, the radioactivity emitted from the tagged compounds is lost to the surrounding solution, but this changes if the potential drug compound interacts favorably with the target on the bead. Radiation emitted from the surface of the bead causes a low light signal that can be detected with our sensitive cameras as show in the image to the left.
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