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Nexcelom’s CellacaTM MX high-throughput automated cell counter, which the company introduced earlier this year at AACR in Atlanta, was developed to enable highly accurate cell counting at fast speeds to help accelerate scientific advancements, according to Jean Qiu, PhD, company founder and CTO.
One application is cell and gene therapy, which requires the determination of highly viable cell populations at each step of drug development from extraction to engineering, cultivation, and administration as a therapeutic. These patient-derived therapies require critically accurate cell counts due to the complexity and heterogeneity of the source of cell samples. This is further complicated by the fact that the sample is highly valuable because sample volumes are limited. Moreover, the bioprocessing scientist is frequently faced with the ambiguous recommendations to release such cell samples for therapy.
“Cell counting can no longer be considered a trivial exercise ,” remarks Qiu. “Rather, it has become a highly sophisticated qualification parameter for dosage and product safety attributes in precision medicine.”
Cellaca MX is a new tool that will “drastically change the researcher’s workflow,” she tells GEN. “It was developed in response to the needs of scientists working at the bench. We want them to concentrate on the science.”
According to Qiu, the instrument uses an innovative cellular analysis technology for accurate cell sample concentration, viability, and morphology measurements. Features include brightfield and fluorescence image-based high-throughput cell counting, cell viability analysis using trypan blue or fluorescent dyes, twenty-four samples in an SBS plate format imaged and processed in 2.5 minutes or less, only 25 µL of cell sample required, four excitation light sources with five emission wavelengths for detection, and is automation-ready for robotic integration
Nexcelom’s R&D manager, Leo Chan, PhD, explains that a number of factors led to the need of an advanced high-throughput cell counter like the Cellaca MX.
One of the main limitations, stresses Chan, is time. Current approaches take too much time to process and count multiple samples. “Cell characteristics often change if they are sitting around too long waiting to be analyzed,” he notes.
The development of CHO cell-based biologics and protein therapeutics from monoclonal antibodies, bi- and poly-specific antibodies, as well as nanobodies, changed the way, cells are engineered and cultivated, continues Chan. “This puts a tremendous stress on CHO cell lines to produce complex protein therapeutic products. Thus, a novel multiple parameter assay tool was needed to more precisely monitor and characterize these cells throughout the process.” This allows the scientist to rapidly analyze the health of the cell.
In addition, CRISPR techniques have allowed multiple cell lines to be rapidly generated, which requires new methods to assess the count and viability of these unique cell lines, says Chan.
Regarding what the Cellaca MX brings to the life sciences table, Chan explains that the product is based on the company’s cell counting experience and expertise over the past fifteen years. Cellaca MX is an upgradable technology with the increased abilities to rapidly measure using Trypan blue, acridine orange/propidium iodide, and other fluorescent viability dyes.
“The Cellaca MX is significantly faster in terms of image acquisition and data analysis. Faster counting time allows users to perform work on multiple samples,” he points out. “It permits users to analyze more types of samples collected from animal experiments, rather than limiting their experiment based on ability to process samples in a timely manner.”
CLICK HERE for more information and to schedule to see the Cellaca MX in your lab: nexcelom.com/cellaca