Updated on 9 October 2015
Front row (seated, left to right): IBN researchers Dr Karthikeyan Kandasamy, Ms Jacqueline Chuah. Second row (left to right): Mr Peng Huang and Dr Sijing Xiong from IBN, Dr Ran Su of BII and IBN’s Dr Daniele Zink. Third row (left to right): IBN’s Mr Kim Guan Eng and Dr Yao Li, with BII’s Dr Lit-Hsin Loo
Singapore: Researchers from Singapore's Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have developed an animal-free screening platforms capable of predicting the toxic effects of compounds on the human kidney accurately.
The technology involves the use of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in their renal screening platform. To realize this breakthrough, the scientists have developed an effective way of producing human renal cells from iPSCs, and have combined this with machine learning methods that improved the automated and accurate prediction of nephrotoxicity.
In addition to predicting toxicity, the novel iPSC-based platform also correctly identifies injury mechanisms, which can help to advance understanding of the tested compounds.
Professor Jackie Y Ying, executive director, IBN, said, "Our new kidney screening platforms will be very useful for many industries that require a reliable tool for evaluating the safety of compounds and ingredients. For example, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries produce a large number of new compounds that need to be screened and tested. Likewise, there is a demand in the food and consumer care industries for efficient lab tools to predict the safety of novel ingredients in their products."
Due to their role in the elimination of drugs and other foreign compounds from the body, the kidneys are a main target for compound-induced toxicity. Many widely used chemicals and drugs, such as anti-cancer drugs, antibiotics and immunosuppressants, are harmful to the kidneys and may cause organ damage or failure.