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New Fluorescence Techniques for High-Throughput Drug Discovery

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The rapid increase of compound libraries as well as new targets emerging from the Human Genome Project require constant progress in pharmaceutical research. An important tool is High-Throughput Screening (HTS), which has evolved as an indispensable instrument in the pre-clinical target-to-IND (Investigational New Drug) discovery process. HTS requires machinery, which is able to test more than 100,000 potential drug candidates per day with respect to a specific biological activity. This calls for certain experimental demands especially with respect to sensitivity, speed, and statistical accuracy, which are fulfilled by using fluorescence technology instrumentation. In particular the recently developed family of fluorescence techniques, FIDA (Fluorescence Intensity Distribution Analysis), which is based on confocal single-molecule detection, has opened up a new field of HTS applications. This report describes the application of these new techniques as well as of common fluorescence techniques - such as confocal fluorescence lifetime and anisotropy - to HTS. It gives experimental examples and presents advantages and disadvantages of each method. In addition the most common artifacts (auto-fluorescence or quenching by the drug candidates) emerging from the fluorescence detection techniques are highlighted and correction methods for confocal fluorescence read-outs are presented, which are able to circumvent this deficiency.
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Keywords: artifact correction; confocal optics; fcs; fida; fluorescence lifetime; high throughput screening; single molecule detection; time resolved anisotropy

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry Gottingen, Germany.

Publication date: 01 December 2003

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  • Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. Each issue of the journal contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics in both pre-clinical and clinical areas of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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