Product News: IncuCyte™ - Automated Live Cell Imaging Inside Your Incubator

30 Jan 2008

IncuCyte™ is the first commercially available incubator imaging system. Unlike most imaging technologies, IncuCyte is the first of its kind that allows you to do kinetic, non-invasive imaging of cells in culture right inside the well-controlled incubator environment.

The system is only 8" high and fits on a single shelf "inside" most standard user-supplied CO2 incubators. Imaging is automated and performed around-the-clock, thus requiring no human intervention. This non-invasive approach allows researchers to capture all valuable kinetic cellular information which otherwise would be lost with standard end-point assays.

Applications for the IncuCyte™ technology are several. IncuCyte™ can be used for cell-based assay optimization and quality control as it generates non-invasive kinetic growth curves (derived from the imagery) which can detect changes in your culture caused by substrate variation, media formulation, serum concentration, cell passage etc... As an example, we have used the platform to optimize serum concentration for a given cell-based assay and have shown that certain cell types actually “prefer” lower serum concentrations. Such data can have significant cost saving implications for an HTS campaign.

Since IncuCyte™ provides a consistent and non-invasive metric of cell culture day to day, this information can also be used to optimize conditions for a functional assay. As an example, IncuCyte™ has been used at Essen to optimize the functional expression of our hERG ion channel assay utilizing our high-throughput IonWorks™ electrophysiology system. Once optimized, this information can be used to insure that cells for harvest and cells for passage are maintained at optimum growth cycles particular to that assay.

Aside from monitoring and optimizing culture conditions, IncuCyte™ can also be used as an assay, providing non-invasive, kinetic readout for live-cell proliferation and or toxicology assays where typically only invasive, end-point measurements are made. Live cell assays, which take hours to days, are ideal candidates for IncuCyte™. Essen is developing a host of applications to take advantage of this capability especially in the areas of cell motility assays.

Lastly, we consider the IncuCyte™ platform a “next-generation” laboratory tool. The system is web-based allowing users to log into their “virtual incubator” from anywhere in the world and keep electronic records of culture variability over time (images and growth curves) with no additional labor resource. Since the system is network driven, sharing of information becomes very efficient when working with colleagues or collaborators. Multiple users can be logged into IncuCyte and various levels of security for viewing information can be designated. No more running to the incubator to check your cells - IncuCyte™ allows this to be done from the comfort of your office, or perhaps from home!