Breaking the ICE
May 2011
by Lloyd Dunlap  |  Email the author


LINCOLN, Neb.óLI-COR Biosciences is working with MitoSciences to create specific assays used for disease and metabolic pathway research under a collaboration agreement the companies announced last month.
MitoSciences recently released three In-Cell ELISA (ICE) assays that monitor the stress-induced, species-variant, or tissue-specific changes or differences in the levels of mitochondrial and other metabolic targets. These assays, also known as In-Cell Western (ICW) Assays, offer a high-throughput method to determine protein levels in cultured cells that is both reproducible and quantitative, LI-COR claims in its announcement.
"Our drug development customers are increasingly interested in using ICE assays to understand the extent to which their drugs' beneficial or adverse effects are unique to specific species of organs," says MitoSciences CEO John Audette. "Our assays are focused in the most general sense on the various mechanisms that regulate cellular homeostasis, a very broad category of research areas that includes metabolism, cell death, oxidative stress and other processes that touch many important diseases. We have found the In-Cell ELISA platform to be very well-suited to analysis of such systems, being able to 'freeze' cells in their native states prior to quantitative measurement of key protein variables."  
MitoSciences' drug-developer customers are excited about the In-Cell ELISA platform, and the companies are undertaking collaborations to extend the assays to novel primary cell model systems, Audette adds.
"Basic researchers are also starting to appreciate the value of the platform with its simplicity and quantitative power. For any researcher working on cell- based analyses, ICE offers compelling advantages over Western blotting," he adds.
LI-COR and MitoSciences came together at the time MitoSciences released its first assay, says Jim Wiley, LI-COR's senior strategic marketing manager. 
"Researchers are able to obtain quantitative, highly sensitive data when using tools like near-infrared dye technology," Wiley claims. "Scientists benefit from both companies' technologies when they image their infrared ICE assays from MitoSciences on a LI-COR Odyssey Infrared Imaging System," which the company claims sets the standard for quantitative near-infrared fluorescence imaging. LI-COR also manufactures IRDye fluorescent dye-labeled secondary antibodies that are incorporated into the MitoSciences ICE kits.  
"MitoSciences has proven that LI-COR's technology provides an excellent platform for our antibodies, both in kits specific to particular research problems, as well as in broad screening approaches used for evaluating pathway-level changes due to diseases or drug effects," says Rod Capaldi, chief scientific officer of MitoSciences. "We are already seeing adoption of the kits for drug screening efforts, and are also undergoing collaborations with leading drug developers to demonstrate the technology's potential as a broad screening approach."  
"LI-COR customers, who are very familiar with the benefits that infrared fluorescent imaging provides, can now image these new, novel infrared fluorescent-based assays, developed for specific, targeted pathways from MitoSciences on the Odyssey platform," Wiley notes. He adds that MitoSciences also provides fully validated antibodies for targeted pathways of which Odyssey customers can now take advantage. When an antibody is used for research, it is important to know that the antibody is reacting only with the target enzyme. In using antibodies for ELISA, the antibody must capture only the target enzyme or a complex containing that protein.
MitoSciences points out that many antibody developers limit their validation to demonstrating that an antibody binds to or immunoprecipitates a peptide or an over- expressed protein. This limited level of analysis gives little, if any, confidence that the antibody can actually capture or label a native enzyme in a complex cell or tissue sample, or that its affinity is limited to the desired target. MitoSciences' validation process involves a double immuno- precipitation followed by mass spectrometry analysis during the development process. The company also uses cell and organ tissue samples for screening at every stage in development, ensuring that the antibodies will work with the samples that matter to their research customers.
"The ability to use these assays on the Odyssey family of imaging platforms will combine to be another tool for advancing cancer research," Wiley concludes.
Code: E051111

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