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Mar
30
2020

Coronavirus: Specimen Collection and Handling Recommendations

By Cathie Miller, Ph.D.
Researchers are working hard to study the novel coronavirus (known as 2019-nCoV or SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19), and BioIVT remains committed to our mission of ELEVATING SCIENCE® in the race to find a cure. Here, we have collected information about coronavirus testing and our offerings that we hope will enable the next medical breakthrough.
Mar
30
2020

Use of In Vitro Systems for Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis Studies

By Karissa Cottier, PhD
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common liver pathology, characterized by hepatic steatosis. It can progress to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with the added presence of hepatocyte ballooning, lobular inflammation, and fibrosis that is not brought on through excess alcohol consumption.1 Although NAFLD and NASH are common, with an approximate worldwide prevalence of 25% and 1.5-6.5% respectively, there are very few specific diagnostic criteria and no specialized therapeutics for either condition.2,3 Currently, the therapeutic strategy for NAFLD and NASH relies on the off-label use of drugs that target some molecular outcomes of fatty liver disease, such as the use of select diabetes medications to treat underlying metabolic dysfunction, statins, antioxidants, anti-hypertensives (i.e. angiotensin receptor blockers) and anti-fibrotic agents.3 Many pharmaceutical companies have active drug discovery programs working to develop new modalities to treat these diseases and the underlying causation.
Jan
30
2020

Why Bank a “Quad Set”: How To Ensure Success With A Relevant Case Biospecimen Collection

By Cathie Miller, Ph.D.
High quality human biospecimens and their associated clinical data lay the groundwork for drug discovery and diagnostic research, and they establish and validate specific targets and biomarkers.  Unfortunately, it’s not easy to access these samples, especially when ensuring the proper ethical approvals were secured, the right clinical data was recorded, and the proper annotations have been determined. Working with a commercial biobank to build your inventory of desired cohorts is the best way to guarantee all your bases are covered, and that you have a reliable source of specimens and data to return to as your research develops.
Jan
28
2020

What is Leukapheresis?

By Alex Rosenberg
Understanding Leukapheresis Leukapheresis is derived from the Latin words “leuk,” meaning white, and “aphaeresis,” meaning to take away.  Put together, leukapheresis describes the collection of leukocytes — also known as white blood cells or immune cells — using a Spectra Optia® system. A donor reclines in a chair and blood is drawn through a vein in one arm. An apheresis machine removes white blood cells from the superfluous biofluids, separates them based on density and collects them in a collection bag known as a leukopak. The remaining red blood cells and platelets are then returned to the same donor through a vein in their other arm. (The white blood cells that have been removed will be replaced quickly.) The white blood cells collected are frequently referred to as peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), and contain B cells, T cells, stem/progenitor cells and dendritic cells. Leukapheresis allows for a concentrated, pure method to obtain PBMCs from a single individual donor.
Dec
26
2019

Understanding Regulatory Guidelines for Sourcing Human Biospecimens

By Cathie Miller, Ph.D.
Sourcing human biospecimens isn’t easy, as various government and medical professional societies have instituted regulations and accreditation programs to ensure that specimens are collected according to the best practices developed over many years. To make matters more complicated, those regulations and best practices are change. That’s why it’s vital to work with a human biospecimen (HBS) provider that has an in-depth understanding of the ever-evolving regulatory landscape.
Dec
03
2019

Replace, Refine, Reduce:  The Humane Use of Animals in Research

By Alex Rosenberg
Replacement, refinement and reduction are the three Rs (often referred to as the 3Rs) that animal regulatory oversight committees around the world abide by. These principles, created over fifty years ago, advocate for the humane use of animals in research. A key proponent behind the 3Rs is the UK’s NC3R, whose efforts have led to the creation of laws in the UK and around the world. NC3R’s mission is to focus on the scientific impacts and benefits of animal research while ensuring humane treatment for animals.
Nov
19
2019

The Tightrope Walker and the Fortune Teller: Key Players in Lead Optimization

By Amanda Woodrooffe, PhD & Kenneth R. Brouwer, PhD, RPh
Lead optimization is the iterative process of refining the structural properties of a new drug molecule to balance the desired pharmacological effects with appropriate drug-like properties with respect to the disposition and safety of the molecule. Achieving this balance is critical in identifying a molecule with the highest likelihood of clinical success – a key need for drug developers given the ongoing challenge of attrition during clinical development. Use of relevant, predictive models for characterizing new molecules is therefore an essential part of finalizing and finessing the selection of candidate molecules for preclinical and clinical development.
Oct
29
2019

Ancient Medicine: How Will it Affect the Future?

By Graham Dyck
Consumers continue to increase their use of herbal supplements to improve health and manage a broad range of conditions. The American Botanical Council (ABC) estimates that Americans spent $7.5 billion on supplements in 2016, making it the 13th year in a row for which there was an increase in sales.1 These supplements include herbs thought to have medicinal benefits, such as horehound (Marrubium vulgare), which has been used since ancient times to treat respiratory conditions, to “wheatgrass” (Triticum aestivum) and barley shoots (Hordeum vulgare) because of the supposed nutritional benefits of these plants at an early growth stage. Other examples include use of botanicals for cosmetic benefits, Yerba mate tea (Ilex paraguariensis) to fight fatique, and ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi) as part of a personal spiritual discovery.2, 3 In its 2016 Market Report, the ABC listed 40 herbal supplements that each exceeded $2 million in sales in the U.S.
Sep
11
2019

How Do You Silence A Gene Using siRNA In HEPATOPAC® Co-Cultures?

By Miranda Yang, PhD
Biologists use a variety of approaches to disable a gene in order to gain an understanding about its function. Methods to disable genes include gene-editing techniques (TALEN or CRISPR), knockout animal models and RNA interference (RNAi). Since its discovery in the late 1990s, RNAi has been proven to robustly and selectively suppress expression of target genes, which is why it has rapidly become a major tool for in vitro analysis of protein function.
Jul
31
2019

Three Species, Endless Possibilities

By Alex Rosenberg
Non-human primate, mouse, canine and rat are at the top of the list for animal model products purchased by scientists and researchers worldwide. Why? Their wide breadth of applications!  In 1902 William Castle started breeding mice for genetic studies. Over time, animals have been a major part of scientific research. While originally each species had their niche research areas, developments in technology and models have allowed the cross purposing of species, leading the way to better science.

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