HP digital titration uses inkjet technology to measure the precise dosages of medications needed to fight diseases at considerably lower cost than even the existing automated processes currently used to test experimental drugs.
Specialty Printing Systems division has unveiled a High-Performance
Digital Dispensing System
based on its inkjet technology that will enable
biologists to develop and test medications at more precise dosages than
traditional analog methods to combat illnesses.
Printing Systems licenses thermal inkjet technology to allow companies to
integrate the technology into their industrial platforms, HP reports.
Dispensing System includes a hardware dispenser resembling a printer, a
repurposed printhead and digital-titration software.
With thermal inkjet
chips the size of a pen tip, biologists can measure how much of a drug is
necessary to save healthy cells from those that are disease-ridden, Kevin
Peters, senior technologist for high-performance dispensing at HP Specialty
Printing Systems, told eWEEK.
HP has posted
of its digital-titration process on its Website. Titration is a common
laboratory method for determining the concentration of chemical compounds such
traditional serial dilution process using test tubes to measure dosages for
drug discovery is time-consuming and error-prone, according to HP. Costly
robotic machines perform the task.
HP claims that
it can streamline the drug-discovery process from the 70 steps of the serial-dilution
process to just a couple of steps with digital titration, making the process
it's performed by old analog technologies, it's extremely wasteful, very
cumbersome and costly because it's such a complicated protocol," Peters
said. "We've addressed this same essential ubiquitous function with a very
simple low-waste, high-efficiency way to perform the titration."
process involves using an array of 16 test tubes and dropping the medication
into the test tubes using pipettes.
involves finding molecules that show a detectible positive interaction with a
disease target, like a tumor cell or virus, Joe Dody, business manager of
high-performance dispensing at HP Specialty Printing Systems, told eWEEK. Lab
tests lead to trials with animals and then humans.
"A lot of
times a drug takes 15 years to go through that entire process to get a
blockbuster drug," Dody said. Failed attempts cost $1.5 billion, he added.
and direct digital titration software power the thermal inkjet chips.
Pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline are using HP's
digital titration technology to develop new drugs.
simple as a printer except the biologist adds their own 'ink'; the ink is
really their experimental pharmaceutical drug," Peters said. "The
drug is where the ink used to be, the test tubes are where the paper used to be
and the dispenser is like a printer."
use the inkjet technology to work with smaller doses-even one tiny droplet-than
they would in the traditional serial-dilution process, he said.
droplet gives the very lowest dose they can, which is literally the size of the
red blood cell," Peters explained. "We've miniaturized it and
simplified it so they can load their own fluids rather than HP factory
fluids," he added.
printer-like dispenser that biologists will use holds a clear plate with dots
resembling dimples and small white rectangular wells that serve as the test
tube in which the drugs will be dispensed to combat diseased cells, Dody
When you push
Go on the dispenser, the equivalent of Print on a printer, the algorithm of the
digital titration software directs the dispenser to load the drug into a
printhead, according to Dody.
software is what allows the researcher to very easily set up experiments, and
the more complicated the experiment is, the more there is a differentiation
between what we offer and what can be done with robotic systems," Dody
said. "It's very hard to do complex experiments with automated
the development of its Digital Dispensing System on Feb. 28.
In the future,
inkjet technology may also be applied to in-vitro diagnostics, HP reports.
technology brings the same efficiencies to the drug-discovery process that it
brought to printing, allowing for on-demand, small-volume, high-precision
production at costs significantly lower than existing analog processes,"
Mark Hanley, president of IT Strategies, an inkjet technology research firm,
said in a statement.