In an effort to identify potential treatments for the growing number of diseases and syndromes recognized today, pharmaceutical companies and academic research facilities must perform multiple rounds of research and clinical testing. During this process, thousands of samples are tested to identify which compounds affect the various pathways of a disease in order to treat or eliminate it. Performing all of these tests individually or by hand would take an extremely long time, slowing research and delaying timely access to new therapies.
Luckily, high-throughput screening allows researchers to test assays of up to 6,144 samples at a time. The ability to test tens of thousands of samples in a day drastically decreases the time required for testing. In addition, the use of robotics can help speed testing time and limit errors typically made by humans.
Traditionally, high-throughput screening has occurred in many places throughout the world. Pharmaceutical companies typically maintain several research and development sites, ready to conduct large quantities of high-throughput studies that are unique to the products developed at their facilities. Similarly, private and university-owned research institutions often perform high-throughput screening on a smaller scale or send samples to one of the many pharmaceutical sites nearby.
A Changing Landscape
Recently, however, the landscape of high-throughput screening has changed significantly for both pharmaceutical and academic facilities. Interestingly enough, while pharmaceutical companies are reducing the number of sites used to perform large-scale screening, academic facilities are increasing their efforts in this area. For a more thorough look at these changes, consider these key points:
pharmaceutical companies continue to consolidate and expand research at single
high-throughput screening sites, and academic sites continue to increase in
number, the opportunities for additional research have increased as well. With
the nature of high-throughput screening, the researcher’s ability to examine
multiple pathways to treating disease is practically limitless. The willingness
that both academic and pharmaceutical screening sites have shown to work
together enables researchers to reach for a far greater potential than
previously thought possible.