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Advancing Cell and Gene Therapies with Jess

Posted September 29, 2022

"Simple Western™ allows us to run three-hour assays, which would usually take us two days with traditional Western blots."

- Laura Martins, Ph.D., Early Development Scientist, Oxford Biomedica

Develop New Gene Therapy Products

Oxford Biomedica is a leading, fully integrated, cell and gene therapy company, with an advanced lentiviral vector platform and have recently added adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors capabilities. In the Early Development Group, Dr. Laura Martins and her colleagues, focus on the design and development of gene therapy products, part of the internal pipeline at Oxford Biomedica. Dr. Martins has been particularly involved in advancing lentiviral vector products for the treatment of undisclosed liver indications.

Increasing Throughput and Saving Time

Testing new vector products usually entails analysing the expression of vector-encoded or vector-related proteins. At the early stages of a new internal project, Dr. Martins was able to quickly establish new assays, thanks to the fast turnaround time of the automated capillary-based assays performed using Jess™. “Jess allowed me to rapidly test the expression levels of eight proteins compared across four different cell lines”, she explains. With Jess, Early Development scientists greatly reduced their hands-on time compared to traditional Western blots, while increasing the number of samples that could be tested in parallel.

Quantification Made Easy

When using Simple Western systems, a small amount of sample can go a long way. One of the challenges faced by scientists in the Early Development Group was quantifying low endogenous levels of a target membrane protein in a specific cell line, something that has proven difficult to do by traditional approaches. With Jess, they were able to detect the target protein using as little as 0.5 μg of protein sample. Additionally, Dr. Martins highlights that “quantification with Compass software is as simple and quick as it can be!”.

RePlex is a Game Changer

The RePlex™ feature on Jess allowed Dr. Martins and her colleagues to maximise the data obtained on each run. With RePlex they were able to either test multiple targets or quantify total protein for sample normalisation. Total protein quantification and normalisation was particularly helpful when the preferred housekeeping loading control had a molecular weight close to the target protein. Total protein quantification had the same trend as GAPDH levels across the samples tested (FIGURE 1), and therefore, can be used as an effortless method for normalisation. Overall, Jess has expanded Oxford Biomedica’s capabilities to develop future cell and gene therapy products, permitting its scientists to spend more time on data analysis and less on manual washes and incubation steps.

GAPDH Total Protein Graph

FIGURE 1. Comparison between GAPDH and total protein quantification, which can be used to normalise the expression of recombinant proteins produced using lentiviral protein expression vectors.

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