At NCATS, the experts in the Assay Development and Screening Technology (ADST) program work to optimize assays requested or submitted by the biomedical research community for high-throughput small-molecule screening. Read the latest news about this program below.
When scientists who specialize in drug development have a promising idea for a new disease treatment, they often start by designing biological tests called assays. By using high-throughput (robotically assisted) screening, researchers use the assays to evaluate hundreds of thousands of compounds with the potential to become new treatments. This complex process requires teamwork to involve the right types of expertise and perspectives in the research project team.
A collaboration involving a patient advocacy group, pharmaceutical companies, academic researchers and ADST program experts culminated in an innovative advance in drug discovery technology, enabling the group to identify a potential new drug target for one of the most common forms of an inherited neurological disorder called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. (See July 2012.)
With support from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, experts at NCATS and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke are leading a project that showcases how NCATS’ chemical screening resources can advance development of potential therapeutics for a broad range of diseases, including Parkinson’s disease.
ADST program researchers designed a novel method that increases the odds of identifying candidate compounds with true activity against biological or disease targets, an advance that will better equip scientists to understand diseases and develop effective therapeutics.
A research collaboration including scientists from the ADST program and the University of Wisconsin–Madison helped identify three promising molecular compounds from a collection of approved drugs to pursue as potential treatments for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a genetic neurological disease for which there are currently no treatments.