Drug synergy scoring using minimal dose response matrices

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Objective: Combinations of pharmacological agents are essential for disease control and prevention, offering many advantages over monotherapies, with one of these being drug synergy. The state-of-the-art method to profile drug synergy in preclinical research is by using dose–response matrices in disease-appropriate models, however this approach is frequently labour intensive and cost-ineffective, particularly when performed in a medium- to high-throughput fashion. Thus, in this study, we set out to optimise a parameter of this methodology, determining the minimal matrix size that can be used to robustly detect and quantify synergy between two drugs. Results: We used a drug matrix reduction workflow that allowed the identification of a minimal drug matrix capable of robustly detecting and quantifying drug synergy. These minimal matrices utilise substantially less reagents and data processing power than their typically used larger counterparts. Focusing on the antileukemic efficacy of the chemotherapy combination of cytarabine and inhibitors of ribonucleotide reductase, we could show that detection and quantification of drug synergy by three common synergy models was well-tolerated despite reducing matrix size from 8 × 8 to 4 × 4. Overall, the optimisation of drug synergy scoring as presented here could inform future medium- to high-throughput drug synergy screening strategies in pre-clinical research.




Mäkelä, P., Zhang, S. M., & Rudd, S. G. (2021). Drug synergy scoring using minimal dose response matrices. BMC Research Notes, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-021-05445-7

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