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Jul 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 13)

Upgrading Cell-Based Viability Assays

Novel Approaches More Accurately Reflect the In Vivo Human State

  • Stem Cell Isolation Technology

    Click Image To Enlarge +
    The zinc finger nuclease (ZFN)-based approach used by Sigma-Aldrich allows the insertion, deletion, or alteration of targeted sequences.

    With stem cell technology in the public eye, it should be noted that a number of products for stem cell research are on the marketplace. BD Biosciences, a division of Becton Dickinson, has a range of kits, individual reagents, flow cytometry and bioimaging instrumentation, and cell culture environments for advancing cell-based technologies.

    BD Biosciences just introduced the BD™ mouse hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) isolation kit. According to Julia Lizondo, product manager of stem cell research reagents, the kit contains the reagents required for the flow cytometric isolation of hematopoietic progenitor and stem cells from mouse bone marrow samples.

    The four-color kit consists of pretitrated fluorochrome conjugated antibodies, compensation beads, isotype controls, an Fc blocker, and a viability dye. In addition to the mouse HSPC isolation kit, BD Biosciences offers the BD™ human pluripotent stem cell sorting and analysis kit.

  • Intelligent Cells Wired for Assays

    Roche Diagnostics’ xCELLigence System has a microelectronic biosensor built into each well of a standard 96-well microtiter plate, says Burkhard Ziebolz, Ph.D., head of global communication. This allows any change in cell number, cell morphology, or cell attachment to be detected in real-time, without the need for labeling or reporters.

    Roche has introduced instrumentation for reading the plates, the first of which was the xCELLigence RTCA SP device followed by a newer upgrade, the xCELLigence RTCA MP Instrument. The MP Instrument has a higher throughput capacity and is more versatile, featuring six E-Plate 96’s as opposed to only one in the RTCA SP. Since each E-Plate can be individually manipulated, a number of researchers can work simultaneously, making the device useful for pharmaceutical investigations.

Readers' Comments

Posted 07/10/2009 by Sr. Director, Business Development

Very insightful article that highlights multiple new technologies being advanced. One concern that I do not see being addressed is the drive to make our in vitro assays more physiologically relevant by removing and replacing non-human components when possible. Cells do b ehave differently when cultured on plastic or Matrigel when compared to fully human ECMs. There are dramatic morphological as well as molecular gene expression differences that lead to aberrant and misleading results. Minimizing these impacts on in vitro assays and maximizing human physiological relevance is the future of cell-based assays.

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