Microfluidic Devices for Automation of Assays on Drosophila Melanogaster for Applications in Drug Discovery and Biological Studies
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Drug discovery is a long and expensive process, which usually takes 12-15 years and could cost up to ~$1 billion. Conventional drug discovery process starts with high throughput screening and selection of drug candidates that bind to specific target associated with a disease condition. However, this process does not consider whether the chosen candidate is optimal not only for binding but also for ease of administration, distribution in the body, effect of metabolism and associated toxicity if any. A holistic approach, using model organisms early in the drug discovery process to select drug candidates that are optimal not only in binding but also suitable for administration, distribution and are not toxic is now considered as a viable way for lowering the cost and time associated with the drug discovery process. However, the conventional drug discovery assays using Drosophila are manual and required skill operator, which makes them expensive and not suitable for high-throughput screening. Recently, microfluidics has been used to automate many of the operations (e.g. sorting, positioning, drug delivery) associated with the Drosophila drug discovery assays and thereby increase their throughput. This review highlights recent microfluidic devices that have been developed for Drosophila assays with primary application towards drug discovery for human diseases. The microfluidic devices that have been reviewed in this paper are categorized based on the stage of the Drosophila that have been used. In each category, the microfluidic technologies behind each device are described and their potential biological applications are discussed.
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