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Scientists Studying E. coli Biofilms Awarded xCELLigence Research Grant


SAN DIEGO June 27, 2018 - With the goal of improving the antimicrobial drug discovery process, scientists in Finland will employ xCELLigence® technology to identify compounds active against E. coli biofilms.

While growing in the biofilm state, where they attach to surfaces and enmesh themselves within an extensive extracellular matrix, bacteria typically become ~1,000-fold more resistant to antibiotics. Although biofilm attachment to catheters, prosthetic joints, periodontal surfaces, and water pipes cost billions of dollars a year to treat, existing antibacterial and antifouling substances are largely ineffective against biofilms. Dr. Päivi Tammela, head of the Bioactivity Screening Group in the Faculty of Pharmacy at University of Helsinki, conducts research aimed at not just identifying new anti-biofilm drugs, but also improving the efficiency of the drug discovery process. On the basis of her research group’s proposed use of the xCELLigence technology to screen, in real-time, the efficacy of drug libraries against E. coli biofilms, today ACEA Biosciences announced Dr. Tammela as the winner of the 2018 xCELLigence Research Grant. Having beaten out scores of other applicants, Dr. Tammela’s group will receive six months free usage of the xCELLigence DP instrument to conduct their studies with.

Citing that “current in vitro methods for biofilm research are slow, time-consuming and provide only end-point data,” by using the xCELLigence instrument Dr. Tammela and her team will be able to monitor biofilm growth and dissipation in real-time, without the use of labels, with high reproducibility, and with minimal hands-on time. Because each well of the specialized xCELLigence microtiter plate provides a continuous readout of cell health and behavior, the manual collection of endpoint data is eliminated and multiple drugs/conditions can simultaneously be analyzed in a single plate – greatly improving throughput. In parallel to these pure biofilm studies, Dr. Tammela’s team will also use xCELLigence to dynamically monitor the impact of pathogenic E. coli infection on the integrity of epithelial cell monolayers – which isn’t possible using alternative techniques. “We are thrilled to see the enabling xCELLigence technology being placed in the hands of such a capable and productive drug discovery/development team. We look forward to seeing the fruits of this collaboration over the next six months,” stated Dr. Yama Abassi, Vice President of ACEA.

Learn more about using xCELLigence to study biofilms and bacterial infection of mammalian cells. The xCELLigence Research Grant, including the guidelines for application, can be viewed here.


About xCELLigence RTCA

xCELLigence Real-Time Cell Analysis (RTCA) instruments utilize gold biosensors embedded in the bottom of microtiter wells to non-invasively monitor the status of adherent cells using the principle of cellular impedance. In short, cells act as insulators – impeding the flow of a miniscule electric current between the biosensors. This impedance signal is measured automatically, at an interval defined by the user, and provides an extremely sensitive real-time readout of cell number, cell size, cell-cell adhesion, and cell-substrate attachment strength. xCELLigence RTCA instruments are being used in both academia and industry for basic and applied applications ranging from bacterial biofilms and cancer immunotherapy to vaccine development and cardiotoxicity testing. To date xCELLigence® has been used in more than 1,500 publications, which can be viewed in a searchable library.


About ACEA Biosciences

Founded in 2002, ACEA Biosciences is a pioneer in the development and commercialization of high performance, cutting edge cell analysis platforms for life science research. ACEA’s xCELLigence impedance-based, label-free, real-time cell analysis instruments and NovoCyte® flow cytometer are used for dozens of applications within both industrial and academic research. More than 2,000 instruments have been placed globally.

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