In Vitro Evaluation of Anticancer Drugs

Institute for Drug Development

The Tumor Cell Biology Laboratory evaluates anti-cancer drugs in vitro by utilizing different adult and pediatric human tumor cell lines in various cell-based assays. Hundreds of tumor cell lines derived from colon, prostate, breast, lung, pancreas, melanoma and other tumors are available for drug testing. A unique panel of cell lines derived from pediatric tumors is also maintained to evaluate activity of drugs for childhood malignancies.

Institute For Drug Development, laboratory hoodwork

Studies can be designed to quantify growth inhibitory potency of experimental drugs (expressed as an IC50 value) using various endpoints in assays such as MTS, MTT, or inhibition of colony formation. Combination studies can also be performed to determine if there is an interaction between conventional chemotherapeutic agents and an experimental drug and quantitative methods are available to differentiate a synergistic, antagonistic or additive interaction. In addition, studies involving different dosing schedules can be performed to determine whether an experimental drug should be given before, concurrently with, or after conventional chemotherapy. Apoptosis-inducing activity of experimental drugs can be quantified by DNA fragmentation or caspase activation. Drug effects on cell cycle distribution can also be analyzed by flow cytometry.

Custom cell culture studies can be performed to characterize the mechanism of action.

Our team utilizes Affymetrix GeneChip® technology for the support of compound development in both preclinical and clinical research. This system offers the advantages of common uniform technology and protocols, ease of use, high-feature density and resolution, high reproducibility, a simple approach to accommodate complex experimental designs, and straightforward comparative analysis of data. The laboratory can perform rigorous gene expression profiling experiments, nucleic acid isolation, RNA/DNA analysis, target labeling, microarray hybridization, scanning, data analysis and other bioinformatics support, and data archiving resources. Gene expression changes can be validated using quantitative real-time PCR.


Jennifer Carew, PhD
Co-Director, Preclinical Research
CTRC Institute for Drug Development
7979 Wurzbach Road, G419
San Antonio, Texas 78229
Phone: (210) 450-3895