When wanting to perform intracellular delivery, scientists face a vast range of often confusing and contradictory options [1, 2]. There is very little unbiased comparison across these methods, making if difficult for scientists and biomedical researchers to choose between approaches.
As intracellular delivery is such a key step for many projects, inability to perform this step can derail a research project. A reliable webtool tool that compares and contrasts different intracellular delivery approaches across cargo categories and cell types would greatly assist in:
1) judging the feasibility of projects
2) helping researchers to execute delivery of a given cargo type into their cells.
It would also help to reduce costs and prevent wastage, by guiding researchers to the most efficient and cost-effective path. A major impact of this work will be to provide researchers with proper scientific data and transparent protocols, rather than having to rely on marketing information and black box commercial solutions.
Research toward improving intracellular delivery has so far followed a generic formula: first develop a new technology, and second, promote it by demonstrating applications.
Due to conflict of interest and inherent biases, this has led to hypercompetitive environment whereby many techniques are overrated and promoted based on potential for commercial profits rather than scientific utility.
By providing the field with a comparison webtool, HackTheCell aims to create a source of reliable information to researchers. Because science is a commercially small market, it has tended to lag behind in trends that have become commonplace in other market areas such as car insurance and utilities (e.g. comparethemarket.com). However, the intracellular delivery and transfection market is expected to reach almost US $1 billion by 2020 and the proposed webtool is expected to bring innovation to scientists seeking to perform intracellular delivery.
The concept of this webtool has been presented by Dr. Martin Stewart at the following events:
- UTS Faculty application (Sydney, Australia, January 2018)
- UNSW-EMBL public seminars (Sydney, Australia, May 2018)
- Westlake University application (Hangzhou, China, May 2018)
- Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute public seminar (Sydney, Australia, June 2018)
- UTS School of Life Sciences public seminar series (Sydney, Australia, September 2018)
- MIT Langer lab seminar series (Cambridge, USA, September 2018)
- Sun Yat-Sen University public seminar (Guangzhou, China, December 2018)
- University of Hong Kong Electrical Engineering seminar series (Hong Kong, China, January, 2019)
- Burapha University seminar (Bangsaen, Thailand, March, 2019)
- Bangabandhu Sheik Mujid Medical University (Dhaka, Bangladesh, April, 2019)
- NCBS (Bengaluru, India, April, 2019)
- Tati Institute for Fundamental Research Hyderabad (Hyderabad, India, April, 2019)