How Is In Vitro Testing Done?

In vitro tests, sometimes called “test-tube experiments”, have become much more common in recent years as industries seek to eliminate animal testing. If you’re interested in the various tools and methods researchers utilize to make discoveries, you might be curious about how in vitro testing is done. 

Over the last two years, most of the population has become familiar with performing their own in vitro COVID-19 rapid antigen tests, but in vitro capabilities can extend far beyond that. In this post, we’ll explain the basics of in vitro assays and how they are carried out. 

What Is In Vitro Testing? 

In vitro testing refers to any study carried out on cultured cells in a highly-controlled environment. It has many applications across various industries, particularly in the healthcare and pharmaceutical spaces.

The Latin phrase “in vitro” means “in the glass,” since these studies are often carried out in glass vessels such as Petri dishes, test tubes, and flasks.

Many international governing bodies mandate certain in vitro tests before a new product or drug compound can be brought to market. Nowadays, in vitro testing innovations and advancements have made it a viable alternative to the much more costly and ethically-complex animal and human studies. 

In vitro studies are used to discover how different microorganisms and drug compounds can impact cells. They can also examine the lifecycle of a cell or predict drug-drug interactions. 

In addition to studies on isolated cells, in vitro testing can also be performed on highly-complex microphysiological models that replicate multi-organ systems. The results of these tests can provide equivalent information to in vivo testing without issues regarding cost or ethics.

How Tests Are Carried Out 

So how is in vitro testing done? In vitro studies are highly versatile and can be altered to fit the specific objectives of each researcher. At IonTox, we offer a wide range of in vitro tests. The process for each one differs slightly. 

To explain how in vitro testing is typically done, we’ll focus on one of the most common tests we carry out: in vitro cytotoxicity assay.

Cytotoxicity assays can determine the potential of a compound to be toxic to cells. It’s an integral part of the drug discovery process, especially in the preclinical phase of research, and it can also be beneficial in cancer research where cell death might be the desired outcome.

To conduct such an in vitro assay, specific cells from human tissue are isolated. After that, the cells grow and multiply into a cell culture under highly controlled conditions to avoid unwanted contamination. Next, the test compound is introduced into the cell culture, and cell death can be measured to determine cytotoxicity. 

IonTox - In Vitro Experts

IonTox is one of the leading innovators in the realm of in vitro research. Our lab offers a wide range of in vitro testing services to the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, tobacco, and food additive industries. 

Aside from conducting tests, IonTox also seeks to develop and advance the realm of in vitro technology to further human knowledge and find better alternatives to in vivo studies. 

Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about how our expertise at IonTox can help you.