In vitro angiogenesis models, such as the analysis of tubule formation, provide useful tools to study normal and disease state processes. We established an in vitro co-culture model system consisting of an assay-ready mixture of TeloHAEC-GFP and an hTERT-immortalized, adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cell line in a specially formulated medium containing VEGF supplement (Angio-Ready™ Angiogenesis Assay System). Here we report further optimization of the system into a 1,536-well, high-throughput format and a shortening of the assay time frame to. Using this format, we evaluated 2,816 drugs from NCATS Pharmaceutical Collection, and 35 potent inhibitors were identified. Many known and novel angiogenesis inhibitors were identified from this study. These results demonstrate that the co-culture model described in this report provides a consistent and robust in vitro system for antiangiogenic drug screening.

In lung cancer, vimentin (VIM) is associated with epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the metastatic spread of cancer. VIM expression is generally upregulated when epithelial cells transition to the mesenchymal phenotype. We used CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to generate a VIM-red fluorescent protein (RFP) fusion reporter cell line in the A549 cell line, enabling end-point or real-time tracking of the EMT status as the cells transition from epithelial to mesenchymal phenotype under defined conditions. Bio-functional evaluation of the A549 VIM RFP cell line shows sensitivity to metastatic NSCLC drugs. These results provide the foundation for the use of this cell line in high-throughput screening applications, including the identification of new anti-EMT drugs for metastatic NSCLC.

In this study, we sought to investigate the protocols, expansion capacity, cryopreservation ability, genetic stability, and feasibility of larger-scale bioproduction of a subset of the models generated by the Human Cancer Models Initiative (HCMI), an international collaborative effort. We cultured organoid models derived from human colon, pancreas, esophagus, and mammary tissues developed by laboratories contributing to the HCMI. While organoid culture represents a significant divergence from typical two-dimensional monolayer culture of continuous cell lines, our results show that these next-generation in vitro models are suitable for larger-scale bioproduction. This is vital to ensure the widespread availability of these models within the research community to facilitate applications like pre-clinical drug discovery and basic cancer research.

In this study, we used CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing technology to generate a drug resistant MEK1Q56P mutation within the A375 melanoma cell line which naturally harbors the BRAFV600E mutation. We validated this new isogenic cell model using both molecular and biofunctional approaches. Drug responses to BRAF- and MEK1-specific inhibitors and non-specific chemotherapy drugs were compared between the A375 MEK1Q56P cell line and the parental cell line in 2D and 3D culture environments. Results demonstrated that the isogenic MEK1Q56P cell line showed significant and specific resistance to BRAF inhibitors in comparison to the A375 line. This new approach to cell line development provides direct, in vitro, bio-functional evidence of a drug-resistant gene that drives tumor cell survival under targeted anti-cancer treatments. Furthermore, the A375 MEK1Q56P cell line represents a new type of drug resistance model that contains a defined genetic resistance mechanism.

Mutations in Isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) have been linked to human cancers such as glioma and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We sought to use CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to create two in vitro disease models that harbor either the IDH1 or IDH2 mutations. An IDH1R132H mutation was introduced in the U-87 MG cell line, and an IDH2R140Q mutation was introduced in the TF-1 cell line. The IDH1R132H mutant U-87 MG Isogenic Cell Line showed an increase in D-2HG and elevated level of histone methylation. In the IDH2R140Q mutant TF-1 Isogenic Cell Line, an increase in D-2HG was also observed. In response to IDH2-specific inhibitors, we demonstrated that IDH2R140Q TF-1 cells exhibited decreases in both D-2HG and histone methylation levels. These data demonstrate that isogenic in vitro models are valuable tools for elucidating mechanisms involved in tumorigenesis and use in screening anti-cancer compounds for drug discovery.

Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC)-derived neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and neurons are an attractive in vitro model to study neurological development and neurotoxicity and to model diseases. We investigated the expression of genes associated with the differentiation of NPCs during three weeks in dopaminergic differentiation media. To validate that our NPCs and dopaminergic neuron differentiation media are suitable for drug screening, we conducted neurotoxicity screenings in three types of NPCs and NPCs-derived neurons using Reliablue™ cell viability reagent assay and high content imaging analysis. This study demonstrates that ATCC NPCs and dopaminergic differentiation media are suitable for studying neurological development and neurotoxicity screening.

Kidney transporter cell models using well-characterized hTERT-immortalized primary renal proximal tubule epithelial cells (RPTEC) that stably overexpress either the OAT1, OCT2, or OAT3 gene were generated. We verified that the overexpressed transporters have normal transport activities using 6-CF and EAM-1 uptake assays in a high throughput format. Uptake of these compounds is blocked in a dose dependent manner by well-known SLC inhibitors, indicating that the overexpressed kidney transporters functioned as expected. These data demonstrate that modified RPTEC maintain kidney transporter expression over time, and provide physiologically relevant, highly sensitive models of human kidney transporter functions.

Abstract: Molecular tests are becoming more widely used in clinical care, especially in screening, diagnosing, and monitoring certain cancers. By detecting biomarkers relevant for personalized treatment, molecular diagnostics are increasingly relied upon to direct appropriate therapies for individual patients. To ensure the reliability and reproducibility of oncology molecular diagnostic test results, controls with known mutational allelic frequency and gene copy number variation are required. The development of standardized genomic DNA products that have been purified from characterized authenticated cell lines and contain quantified molecular genetic markers provide a reliable and sustainable alternative to variable patient tissue derived controls.

Abstract: Metagenomics provides an opportunity to understand the microbial population present in a given environment. The development of high-throughput sequencing has made the study of microbiomes increasingly possible. However, with recent increased activity in metagenomics research, there is need for reference materials that enable data accuracy and quality to be assessed. Control materials could enable performance evaluation of sample processing, library preparation, sequencing methods, and data analysis, thus aiding in the comparison of different studies.

Abstract: Advancement and accessibility of next-generation sequencing technologies have influenced microbiome analyses in tremendous ways, opening up applications in the areas of clinical, diagnostic, therapeutic, industrial, and environmental research. However, due to the complexity of 16S rRNA and metagenomic sequencing analysis, significant challenges can be posed by biases introduced during sample preparation, DNA extraction, PCR amplification, library preparation, sequencing, or data interpretation. One of the primary challenges in assay standardization is the limited availability of reference materials. To address these biases and provide a measure of standardization within microbiome research and applications, ATCC has developed a set of mock microbial communities comprising fully sequenced, characterized strains selected on the basis of phenotypic and genotypic attributes, such as cell wall type (Gram stain classification), GC content, genome size, unique cell wall characteristics, and spore formation. These mock communities mimic mixed metagenomic samples and offer a universal control for microbiome analyses and assay development. Moreover, these standards have been developed with different levels of mock community complexity (10 or 20 strains per community) with even or staggered relative abundance, including diverse strains that are relevant to a broad range of applications. In addition, to minimize the bias associated with data interpretation, we have developed a data analysis module in collaboration with One Codex. This module provides a user-friendly output in the form of true-positive, relative abundance, and false-negative scores for 16S rRNA community profiling and shotgun metagenomic sequencing.