Frequently Asked Questions

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Pharmaceuticals

If my company orders a study through the screening service, how soon could we expect to receive the results?

Study time varies with volume and the type of testing ordered. A typical whole-life study lasts about 6 weeks, short term and stress assays take about 2 weeks, including report writing.

I've heard about C elegans screening services in the past. What makes NemaLife different?

Our proprietary technology creates a highly sensitive, immersive testing environment, which allows us to test drugs at comparable concentrations to in-vitro and in vivo mammalian models. In addition, we offer multifactorial diversity assays that no other routine preclinical model currently offer.

How do your services compare with other
in-vivo models or testing methods?

The majority of human genes have homologs in C. elegans. In a comparative proteomics study, 83% of the worm proteome was found to have human homologous genes. Only 11% or less contains nematode specific genes. This makes the worm a suitable model organism for delineating human gene function.

What types of tests do you offer for toxicity study?

We offer a wide range of options including acute, reproductive, developmental, repeated dose, and chronic toxicity tests.

How well do testing results from the C. elegans model translate into a human population?

The majority of human genes have homologs in C. elegans. In a comparative proteomics study, 83% of the worm proteome was found to have human homologous genes. Only 11% or less contains nematode specific genes. This makes the worm a suitable model organism for delineating human gene function.

 
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Longevity Biotechnology

Why should I use the C. elegans model for longevity studies?

C. elegans is the most suitable model for whole-life in vivo screening due to its short lifespan and well-known biology. Using low-cost and rapid C. elegans longevity assays can cut the time and financial requirements of the development process a dozen and up to 100-fold, respectively.

Is C. elegans a good model for senescence and senolytic drug discovery?

Senescence is a complex phenomenon and nematodes are sutiable models to study the senescent transformation of primarily postmitotic cells. The map is not the territory, but a model

Have compounds with translational relevance been identified or tested in C. elegans for longevity benefits?

The vast majority of chemical compounds, more than 300, with anti-aging benefits have been identified and tested first in C. elegans. Candidates such as NAD+, metformin and urolithin have been tested in humans and are being (or have been) commercialized.

Can the C. elegans model mimick the various hallmarks of aging?

Nematodes have most of the major organ systems, cell types and orthologs of genes that humans have. They also show remarkably similar hallmarks of aging to humans. Of course worms are not humans, but the similarities are strong enough to gain useful insight and potentially prediction to mammalian aging.

Can I test compounds in only older animals?

Absolutely! While a single aged mouse or rat can cost 2000 USD, for a comparable cost we can provide gainful insight using large populations of aged animals within weeks.

In addition to lifespan, what other healthspan markers can be tested?

Our system provides high resolution data about the motility of the animals. This function can be used to calculate several healthspan indicators. We also offer body size and fluorescent marker measurments, and we can accomodate custom requests.

 
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Nutraceuticals

How is this testing different from analytical testing?

Analytical testing only informs the consumer of the purity of the nutraceutical, whereas functional testing in C. elegans can provide support for the stated effects of the product as well as inform on unexpected dose dependent side effects.

What kind of documentation do we receive at the end of the study?

Beyond the usual data package, the NemaLife team works with your company to create a custom report with a detailed explanation of the scientific results. Your team can make an informed decision if there is further research needed or you can proceed to select the best marketing approach. 

What kind of information will need to be disclosed to get the initial phase of discussion in order to receive a price quote?

We require only the number of conditions (sample number, doses/ concentraions) and the type of tests you are interested in to provide a price estimation. When you are ready to move further we can customize and finalize the total cost of the study and the delivery time.

Why would I want to invest in testing for efficacy of my product?

=Research shows that customers are increasingly making their purchase decisions on scientific studies conducted to determine the health benefits of the product. Showing research data to your customer conveys the message that you deeply care for them.

Why should I choose this model over mammalian testing for toxicity?

Nematodes provide high quality toxicity ranking, developmental and reproductive toxicity data. For lifelong toxicity measurments nematodes offer unbeatable cost and time advantage. While we don't recommend to replace mammalian testing entirely, you can significantly cut the time and money spent on mammalian testing with a first round of rapid and affordable C. elegans tests.

 
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Cosmetics/Personal Care

How are cosmetics regulated in the United States?

Cosmetic ingredients are not federally regulated, however the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert panel does assess the safety of the ingredients used in cosmetics in the US.

Can I use the report I receive from NemaLife to meet cosmetic safety measures?

Companies and individuals who market cosmetics have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their products. NemaLife assays can be used to optimize spending on mammalian testing.

Are there any ethical concerns over using C. elegans for personal care products?

The modern consumer demands solid scientific evidence to back any product claims, yet also want testing to be conducted in an ethical manner. Our in-vivo testing platform provides the results consumers expect while reducing the need for testing in larger animals.

Why would I want to test cosmetics in a C. elegans model?

Since the major regulatory bodies in the US and EU are implementing the 3R model, more companies are moving to testing cosmetic ingredients in non-vertebrate models such as C. elegans.

How might NemaLife help us target consumers?

The modern consumer demands solid scientific evidence to back any product claims, yet also want testing to be conducted in an ethical manner. Our in-vivo testing platform provides the results consumers expect while reducing the need for testing in larger animals.

What is the benefit of using C. elegans model over cell culture models for testing cosmetic ingredients?

In vitro, ex vivo models may not completely or precisely predict the effects on the whole organism. Moreover many human cell culture lines have dubious origin and a questionable relevance to human biology due to cross-contamination or overpassage induced genetic drift.

 
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Cannabis/CBD

How is this testing beneficial and different from analytical testing?

Analytical methods inform the consumer only of the purity of the product, testing only for known chemicals and contaminants. Our functional assays however provide insight into unexpected benefits and potential toxicity that analytical methods might miss.

How might NemaLife help us target consumers?

Skeptical consumers want to see solid scientific evidence to back product claims, and to know that testing is done in an ethical manner. Our service can provide the research needed to win over consumers and reduce the need for testing in larger animals.

Can you test THC in your model?

According to federal law, THC is still a schedule I controlled substance, we can however freely test other hemp derived compounds. We are in the process of obtaining our DEA registration, in a short time we will be able to work with all your scheduled substances.

 
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Food & Beverage

How could testing food or beverage products in C. elegans help our business?

Our screening service provides relevant data that can guide R&D decisions, marketing claims, and streamline product development. Our services can help identify the long-term health effects of individual compounds, synergistic effects of combined compounds, and exposure to differing substance concentrations.

How well do testing results from the C. elegans model translate into a human population?

The majority of human genes have homologs in C. elegans. In a comparative proteomics study, 83% of the worm proteome was found to have human homologous genes. Only 11% or less contains nematode specific genes. This makes the worm a suitable model organism for delineating human gene function.

Can the C. elegans model be used to test the anti-oxidant benefits of food additives?

The oxidative stress response and the damage reactive oxygen species (ROS) inflict on the molecules and cells of nematodes and humans are surprisingly similar. Therefore C. elegans is a prime, low-cost alternative to assess the non-clinical effects of anti-oxidants on both lifespan and cellular, molecular mechanisms.

How could testing food or beverage products in C. elegans help our business?

Our screening service provides relevant data that can guide R&D decisions, marketing claims, and streamline product development. Our services can help identify the long-term health effects of individual compounds, synergistic effects of combined compounds, and exposure to differing substance concentrations.

What kind of documentation do we receive at the end of the study?

Beyond the usual data package, the NemaLife team works with your company to create a custom report with a detailed explanation of the scientific results. Your team can make an informed decision if there is further research needed or you can proceed to select the best marketing approach. 

 
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Industrial Chemicals

Can NemaLife test for health effects of combined chemical exposure?

Yes. The controlled environment in our patented chip technology allows for testing any number of chemical combinations at a wide range of concentrations. This can provide a deeper understanding of the synergistic effects of exposure to multiple substances.

Can I use C. elegans to develop antihelmintics and nematicides?

C. elegans is not a parasitic worm, which makes it a more ‘user-friendly’ model system that is also highly tractable to molecular genetic techniques. It shares close anatomical, phisiological and genetic composition with many parasitic flat worms, e.g., flukes (trematodes), tapeworms (cestodes) and round worms (nematodes). Therefore it offers a great cost-effective model for industrial drug discovery!

Has C. elegans been used to monitor industrial chemicals?

Yes, C. elegans was used in the Pergamino River basin (province of Buenos Aires, Argentina) to monitor and assess the impact of both the long-term intensification of soybean production and fast-growing urban development on surface and groundwater sources.

 
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Agrochemicals

Can you replace lengthy and costly eartworm tests?

We think yes! While earthwomrs are segmented worms and C. elegans is a roundworm they are both soil animals, adapted to similar environments and responding to environmental changes in a similar fashion.

How affordable and rapid is a C. elegans assay?

Pricing depends on the volume and type of assay, in general we can share that C. elegans assays are up to 100 times cheaper and up to 24 times faster than equivalent mammalian assays.

Has C. elegans been used to monitor agricultural chemicals?

Yes, among others C. elegans has been used to examine fungicide effects on growth, reproduction, nervous system and behavior.

 

Environmental Pollution Monitoring

Can you study the short or long term health effects of air pollution?

Yes! As long as we receive the collected solid particles of the pollutants, and/ or a composition of gases in the air we can expose the animals to these conditions and measure the short or long term exposure consequences.

How is this testing different from analytical testing?

Analytical methods measure only the quantity of known chemicals, that we know might be hazardous. Our functional assays can detect toxic compounds or elements that are not included in the standard monitoring list and therefore analytical methods would miss. We can detect brand new hazardous agents or the hazard of multiple agents that only become toxic when mixed in certain combinations.

Can biological monitoring of environmental pollution replace the standard procedures of measuring air, water and soil pollution?

Certainly not. However our technology can potentiall detec previously unknown toxic trace chemicals and provide insight about the hazard of long term exposure, that conventional methods do not study.

Has C. elegans been used to monitor environmental pollution?

Yes, C. elegans was used in the Pergamino River basin (province of Buenos Aires, Argentina) to monitor and assess the impact of both the long-term intensification of soybean production and fast-growing urban development on surface and groundwater sources.

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Infinity Benchtop Screening System

Worm Culture

Do I need to grow animals on plates to do lifespan assays in the Infinity System?

Yes. Animals are grown to young adulthood on agar plates using standard protocols (e.g. as described in Wormbook). Animals at young adulthood (typically older than day 2 from hatching) are transferred into Infinity Chip for life-long culture. 

What is the optimal age and size of animals to be introduced used in the Infinity System?

Yes. However, we don’t recommend it since long-term culture in liquid media disrupts normal development and decreases growth rates within the population. If you really need to, it is best to limit the animals in liquid culture to a single generation.

Can animals of smaller size be used in the Infinity System?

Given that strains and mutants might go through developmental stages at different times depending on growth conditions, the Infinity System can be used with strains and mutants whose body diameter is more than 50 microns. Larger animals are preferable so as to prevent sample loss during washing and feeding in the Infinity chips.

Can I grow animals in liquid culture and then transfer to Infinity Chips?

Yes. However, we don’t recommend it since long-term culture in liquid media disrupts normal development and decreases growth rates within the population. If you really need to, it is best to limit the animals in liquid culture to a single generation.

What is the optimal age and size of animals to be introduced used in the Infinity System?

The Infinity system has been optimized for wild-type animals grown at 20 degrees excelsior that are loaded approximately 65 hours after age synchronization.

What worm strains could be used in the Infinity System?

Any worm strain that has a body diameter of more than 50 microns can be used.

Infinity Chips

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What medium can I use for culturing the worms in the Infinity Chips?

We recommend liquid NGM. Other culture media (e.g. M9 or S-buffer) compatible with nematode growth can also be used. 

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Is there bagging in the Infinity Chips?

The frequency of bagging in wild-type animals is similar to that of animals cultured on agar plates.

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Does the infinity system have fluorescent microscopy capabilities?

The infinity system itself does not have fluorescence capabilities but you can look at fluorescent worms in the infinity chip using a fluorescent microscope.

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How many worms can be loaded with the Infinity Chips?

We recommend 60 -70 worms per chip. If more worms are needed for an experiment, we recommend using multiple chips for the same condition.

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How many times can I reuse the Infinity Chips?

We recommend that the Infinity Chips be used only once for life-long experiments since there could be significant accumulation of chemicals (e.g. drugs, metabolites, pheromones) in the chamber thereby altering the culture environment for subsequent use.

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For washing solution preparation, how do you make the pluronic powder dissolve?

Prepare it in a 5 wt% soln. in double-distilled (DD) water and leave it overnight at 4 degrees Celsius for the powder to completely dissolve.

 
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Bacterial Food

What type of bacterial food can be used in the system?

All types of microbial food can be used. Any food that does not clog the Infinity culture chambers or form biofilms can be used. 

What is the protocol for preparing bacterial food?

We grow standard overnight cultures of E. coli OP50. We pellet the bacterial cells by centrifugation at 3500 – 4000 RPM for 10 minutes and resuspend the cells in liquid NGM to the desired concentration.

Can RNAi bacteria be fed in the Infinity System?

Yes. RNAi bacteria can be prepared using Wormbook protocols and fed to the worms.

What is the bacterial concentration used for daily feeding of animals?

We recommend 20 mg/mL of final bacterial concentration in media for culturing animals in the Infinity Chips.

How long can I store the prepared bacterial food?

At 4 degrees Celsius, bacterial food can be stored for up to 2 weeks. Also, bacterial food can be stored frozen at –20 degrees celsius for up to 3 months.