The limiting dilution assay (LDA) is a clonogenic drug efficacy test designed to determine a value for drug efficacy based on an all-or-none (positive or negative) response within replicates. It also attempts to calculate minimum cell numbers for cells to form colony in each drugged conditions, wherein a large value implies high drug efficacy (as a large number of extant cells are required to start a colony).
However, traditional LDAs are time-consuming to set up, often requiring many replicates for statistical analysis, and manual colony identification under a microscope to determine a positive or negative response is tedious and is susceptible to human error.
To address these issues, a high-throughput miniaturized LDA assay is developed using a micropillar/microwell chip platform using an automatic colony identification method. Three glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumor isolates (448T, 464T, and 775T) are used to test this new assay, using the c-Met kinase inhibitors SU11274 and PHA665752 as the target drugs. The results show that the minimum cell number of 775T is larger than that of the other two cell types (SU11274 and PHA665752) in both the sampled drugs, a result that is in good agreement with the results of previous conventional experiments using 96 well plates.