Genetic Engineering News – Democratizing Flow Cytometry
(March 15, 2013) - Due to advances on many fronts, from microfluidics to software, flow cytometry is being simplified so that it can be more readily used by a wider range of scientists and clinicians without special expertise. GEN recently spoke with technical representatives from a number of leading flow cytometry companies to get a sense of the latest instrument trends and to find out about the emergence of novel applications.
William Godfrey, Ph.D., manager of research application development, and James Tung, Ph.D., senior staff scientist, Beckman Coulter Life Sciences, both described a current move toward simpler, less expensive, benchtop instruments that offer robust and routine operation.
Simplification involves the creation of kits for common applications and the use of combinations of markers and fluors, algorithms, and software that take the judgment out of pattern recognition and make the interpretation of results less complex. In addition, companies are trying to provide detection of as many colors as possible in the simpler instruments. Dr. Tung noted that this goal is being helped by the arrival of new off-line analysis software to analyze the data, such as his company’s Kaluza® product.
New reagents are enhancing the ability to cover spectral overlap of multiple fluors. An example is Beckman Coulter’s VersaComp antibody capture bead kit, which can be used to set compensation for multicolor flow cytometry experiments, and will enable scientists to establish color compensation on research analyzers utilizing the same reagents found in their experiments.
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