Although immunoassays are crucial for measuring therapeutic response and identifying potential drug candidates, they are challenging to design and laborious to perform. Increasing pressure to bring novel drug products to the patient population has increased the demand for robust immunoassay in pharmaceutical drug development. These robust assays are needed to assess the safety and efficacy of drug products at every step of the drug discovery timeline.
Multiplex platforms such as Luminex assays have significantly reduced many limitations observed in singleplex ELISA assays. Due to the ability to test numerous analytes in a single assay sample, scientists can dramatically reduce the sample volume and hands-on experimental time. Besides, analyzing multiple analytes in a single study sample ensures comprehensive data is generated about the target analytes.
Luminex is a multiplex assay capable of analyzing multiple analytes in biological matrices. It employs a bead-based technology to detect upto 100 analytes in a given study sample. The beads are color-coded with a distinct proportion of red and infrared fluorophores with unique spectral signatures. Thus Luminex assays, such as Multiplex cytokine assay, can quantify multiple cytokines in samples and provide crucial data about biological diseases and processes.
However, with several benefits, researchers also face some technical obstacles with Luminex multiplex assays. As singleplex assays work with only one analyte, each assay component is designed for the analyte of interest. But this is not the case with multiplex assays. Multiplex assays analyze several target analytes in a single sample. Hence, compromises often have to be made to make the assay solution work for all the analytes present in the sample. These modifications include identifying an ideal buffer solution fit for the entire panel. Although these require some precise requirements, once achieved, Luminex assays can generate high-throughput and accurate results.
Luminex assays in preclinical research
In drug discovery projects, ELISA-based approaches use a single analyte-analyte interaction to detect and quantify analytes in biological samples. With Luminex multiplex assays, this same reaction can be performed parallelly with several other reactions. Besides, technical aspects such as LEDs and color-coded beads can be optimized to increase the simultaneous analysis of study samples. Moreover, there are often set-ups where hundreds of study samples are analyzed each day, making Luminex assays a robust, automated, and cost-effective tool in preclinical research.
Luminex multiplex assays are miniaturized alternatives to conventional techniques such as ELISA and western blot assays. Hence, samples that can run a single ELISA assay can be used to perform several hundreds of assays using the Luminex platform. This capability is especially crucial in preclinical research, where patient samples or samples from animal models such as mice can be limited. While using traditional platforms, scientists have to decide the analyte they would like to analyze in a particular sample. However, with Luminex assays, they can monitor and analyze each analyte in biological study samples while saving precious study samples and generating high-quality study data.
Hence, Luminex multiplex assays are ideal options to reduce costs and hands-on time while generating insightful and actionable preclinical data.