Roboworm – Increasing the speed of anthelmintic drug discovery
An automated high-content imaging platform (Roboworm) will be made available at Aberystwyth University (AU) to enable the objective repositioning of existing drugs or the identification of new compounds as next-generation anthelmintics (compounds that kill parasitic worms). Specifically, we will engage with any interested end user within the pan-Wales drug discovery research community to identify new properties of existing agents (or new agents) in killing Schistosoma mansoni, a parasitic worm that causes schistosomiasis and the deaths of 200,000 people per annum.
In brief, Roboworm currently consists of an integrated tissue culture facility, automated compound distribution/washing workstation and high content image analysis system coupled to in-house developed software for segregating drug-induced schistosome phenotypes. It has a projected capacity of performing 200,000 tests per annum and is undergoing final validations for a commissioned start date of December 2014.
Roboworm represents a unique, state of the art, system in advanced instrumentation that will dramatically transform the speed in which new anti-schistosomals are identified. Use of it will open up a new era of interdisciplinary research and pan-Wales network collaboration specifically targeting novel ways to treat a neglected tropical disease of global health importance.
Academics within Wales are invited to submit sample compounds to screen their efficacy as anthelmintic drugs. This will initially be free of charge and all interested parties are invited to contact Prof Karl Hoffmann (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through their Hefcw-funded IP Commercialisation Project coordinators.