Molecular Devices must be very happy about being awarded a US patent for their parallel recording ‘Population Patch Clamp’ (PPC) technique; electrohysiologists and drug developers everywhere must be delighted it is available.
Patch clamp recording is an extremely powerful technique for investigating membrane ion channel kinetics and the effects of drugs on these channels. Although the membrane patch can be formed in different ways one of the great drawbacks, since the technique’s initial development, has been the need to get ‘single channel’ recordings to prevent interference by multiple channel openings. However, measuring single channels also brings up problems of biological variability.
Unfortunately, in the past, whole-cell patch clamp recording was only intermittently successful. The technique, which can target the effects of ligands etc directly on cell ion channel function, rather than indirectly (e.g. ion flux or fluorescence assays) and offer the possibility of automation, has always been a highly desirable procedure to perfect.
Now Molecular Devices PPC parallel recording technique allows statistically viable numbers of channels to be measured automatically on planar patch clamp systems, not just from single cells, but from whole populations. It is patch clamp recording taken to another level, with 64 recording sites per well to ensure a consistent signal is obtained across all wells. No wonder Klaus Lun, Molecular Devices Vice President, BioDiscovery appreciates exactly what the patent award means:
“We are pleased that the US patent office has recognized Molecular Devices’ innovative parallel recording technique for ion channel screening. This revolutionary technique allowed scientists for the first time to screen large compound libraries at an affordable price.”
PPC technology is available for Molecular Devices’ IonWorks® QuattroTM and Barracuda automated patch clamp recording systems, each designed for the requirements of different drug research and researchers! Plus, of course, these are valuable research tools for investigations requiring higher-throughput approaches to ion channel function.
The combination of Molecular Devices automated patch clamp recording equipment and their patented PCC technology means that ion channel assay success rates have been enhanced to near 100%. As Klaus Lun says:
“The technique has changed the way researchers pursue drug candidates targeting ion channels.”
And it’s very difficult to argue with him.