Drug safety issues are a major cause of late stage attrition and the pharmaceutical industry is now focusing on developing early stage in vitro cell-based approaches which are more predictive and relevant to human adverse effects.
Microelectrode array (MEA) is showing promise in addressing this challenge as it becomes a critical technology in both cardiotoxicity and neurotoxicity prediction. In fact, within the CiPA initiative, MEA was evaluated and added as a supplement for current regulatory cardiac safety testing as it provides a sensitive electrophysiological technique to assess multiple ion channels simultaneously in human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes.
Due to the complexity of the brain and CNS, in vitro techniques for the prediction of neurotoxicity have traditionally been difficult to develop. However, MEA is proving to be a welcome addition in this respect as it allows electrophysiological disruptions to the neural network to be evaluated in vitro. The technique can recapitulate many of the in vivo characteristics of neural cells including spontaneous spiking and bursting, plasticity, organisation and responsiveness to a wide range of neurotransmitters and pharmacological agonists and antagonists. This technology is currently being evaluated though the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) in a consortium which includes industry, government/regulatory agencies, academic and research institutes.
Our new whitepaper titled ‘The Future of Microelectrode Array (MEA) in Early Toxicology Assessment’ provides a comprehensive analysis of the current challenges of the pharmaceutical and chemical industry in terms of toxicology prediction and it describes how MEA provides an early stage solution to these challenges. This 14 page review article presents an overview of the latest research and how this can be applied within toxicology prediction.