Transfection CRO Services


The goal of transfection is to induce synthesis of a target gene product (e.g. recombinant protein expression or antibody production) or expression constructs can target a gene of interest and inhibit its expression (i.e. RNAi ).  Transfection is the process of inserting a specific coding sequence into a cell and can be a DNA plasmid construct (containing a genomic insert) or a small nucleic acid (e.g. siRNA, miRNA).

There are 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.


Each contract research organization (i.e. CRO, or biology CRO) has its specialization and alternate methods 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, thus maintain established and certified quality systems.  Typically, the sponsor and CRO agree to terms by which the study will be conducted.  This agreement includes materials and methods used, data to be obtained and any analysis to be performed.  Data is captured electronically, on paper or a combination of both.  Upon completion of the study, the data is compiled, analyzed and summarized.

Scientists have developed several methods (both chemical and physical) to introduce foreign DNA into cells through methods such as lipofection, electroporation and microinjection.  Electroporation uses electricity to open the cell membrane in order for DNA to be transported inside.  As a result, it has the potential to change the cell phenotype or physical characteristics.  Another approach is to incorporate a virus vector based DNA sequence.  Lipofection is another effective transfection method of transporting DNA or siRNA into eukaryotic cell membranes.  In this method, the DNA (or RNA) is delivered to the cell membrane where it becomes engulfed by the cell.

Additional methods include 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 knowledgebase; therefore, 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.  Custom services are always available and may take longer to establish and complete.