Thursday, October 20, 2011

17th North American ISSX Meeting

The International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics (ISSX) held its annual meeting from October 16-20. Approximately 750 attendees and vendors gathered in Atlanta, Georgia for the 17th North American Meeting. The society and meeting concentrates on the examination of the ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion), as well as toxicity of drugs and lead compounds currently going through the drug discovery process. For a number of years, intense focus has been on the potential that these drugs may have to induce or inhibit the activity of primary and secondary drug metabolism enzymes, including Cytochrome P450 (CYP) and UGT enzymes, as well as drug transporters. These effects may lead to adverse drug-drug interactions (DDI) when a patient is also taking a drug that is metabolized by an induced or inhibited CYP enzyme. Much research has been done to detect these potential adverse interactions before the clinical testing phase or before a drug reaches the market. BioTek is striving to simplify this research, and presented a poster demonstrating how hepatocyte-based CYP inhibition assays can be easily automated in 384-well format. The poster was well received, showing the continued importance of this research area, and the need for appropriate automation of these types of assays.

A new topic that was discussed in a short course, as well as in multiple podium presentations was the fact that certain biological therapeutics have the ability to suppress the activity of CYP drug metabolizing enzymes, thereby also leading to potential adverse DDI. Since biologics (Ex. Monoclonal antibodies, etc.) typically have different methods of clearance from the body than small molecule drugs, it was thought that DDI between these two classes of drugs would not be a concern. Even though the percentage of interactions is lower than between two small molecule drugs, the potential still exists within this drug class. It is likely that more will be identified as the number of biological therapeutics in the marketplace continues to grow. This is yet another example of how interconnected and complex the human body truly is. It will be interesting to monitor further research in this area at future ISSX, as well as other conferences.

By, BioTek Instruments, Brad Larson, Principal Scientist

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