100,000 X-shaped micropatterns of proteins that cells can adhere to. Credit: UCLA
New technology for measuring cell strength to speed up drug discovery

A team of scientists has developed a method for measuring the physical strength of cells 100 times faster than previously available tools. The new technology has important applications in drug discovery efforts. It allows quick, large-scale testing of drugs for diseases associated with anomalies in cellular stregth. For example, it could be used to screen for new drugs for hypertension, muscular dystrophy and asthma. The device is called fluorescently labeled elastomeric contractible surfaces, or FLECS. It contains 100,000 x-shaped patterns of proteins that emit a fluorescent signal when a cell is attached to them and changes its strength. The researchers tested successfully the technology and the results were published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.

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Scientific publication: Nature