The goal of transfection is to induce synthesis of a target gene product (e.g. recombinant protein expression or antibody production) or to target a gene of interest and inhibit its expression (i.e. RNAi ). Transfection can consist of inserting a DNA plasmid construct (containing a genomic insert) or a small nucleic acid (e.g. siRNA, miRNA).
There are several transfection methods that are effective and safe for the cell membrane, but there are also various methods that carry a moderate risk when adding nucleic acids to a cell. Microinjection is ideal for adding DNA/RNA to an exact location within the cell membrane, but the risks involved include destroying the entire cell. With advancements in genetics and cell modifications, there are commercially available life science research services to employ advanced instruments, tools, and reagents to overcome some of these risks.
Contract Research Organizations (CRO)
A contract research organization specializes in particular techniques for preclinical testing. Companies vary in terms of their facilities, processing times, and expertise of lab personnel. These labs are typically GLP and/or GMP compliant, and usually maintain established and certified quality systems. Typically, the sponsor and CRO agree to terms by which a study will be conducted. This agreement includes materials and methods used, data to be obtained, and any analysis to be performed. Data is obtained electronically, on paper, or a combination of both. Upon completion of the study, the data is compiled, analyzed, and summarized.
Several CROs offer transfection services through a variety of methods. Reliable instrumentation is necessary for quantitative analysis, and hence it is advantageous to order a study to be conducted with reproducible data. Companies may offer electroporation protocols, microinjection experiments, and other additional transfection methods that may involve calcium phosphate, DEAE-dextran, non-liposomal lipids, liposomal formulations, and activated dendrimer polymers. The selection of the transfection technology can influence the transfection efficiency. Ideally, the chosen protocol should be efficient and reproducible, fast and easy to perform and cause minimal damage to cells.
CROs are highly committed to customer satisfaction since their reputation depends on the integrity of the data and ability to help products become approved by regulatory organizations (e.g. IND applications with FDA). Each CRO has a different specialization, and as such, it is important to select the CRO most qualified for specific project needs. Transfection services are a specialized part of preclinical research services provided by biology CROs such as Altogen Labs. Biology CROs can be a valuable partner in completing a research study goal. The following publications list some of the potential advantages and processes associated with using a CRO for scientific research: