Editorial Article: Learn How Flow Cytometry Can Enhance Your Cell Screening Assays

Discover a more versatile range of applications for routine cell analyses

19 Dec 2016

Flow cytometry is a well-established technique primarily used for cell counting and cell sorting, particularly in drug discovery and clinical diagnostic applications. However, advances in the technology have evolved to support a far wider range of applications, in a diverse variety of disciplines. Benchtop flow cytometry offers a rapid and robust approach to cellular analysis. Read on to discover the range of in-depth analyses that can be achieved using benchtop systems, such as the guava easyCyte™ benchtop flow cytometers from MilliporeSigma.

Several key indicators of cell health can be measured using a benchtop flow cytometer. These include measures of apoptosis, cell cycle stage, cell counts, transfection efficiency and target expression levels. Monitoring these factors is important for establishing uniform standards of cell health and performance for downstream screening assays. Multiparametric analyses enable multiple parameters to be monitored simultaneously, for efficient analyses of complex mechanisms. Below is a summary of the key multiparametric analyses that can be applied across life sciences and drug discovery disciplines for improved assay screening.

DNA Damage 
Assessing DNA damage is important in a number of disease areas, including cancer research, as these defects can lead to genetic instability and uncontrolled cell growth. Several downstream signaling proteins are altered in response to DNA damage, which can be detected using flow cytometry kits.

Mitochondrial Analyses & Apoptosis
Mitochondria are organelles critical for cellular energy production but their dysfunction can lead to cell damage and death, caused by oxidative stress. Therefore, monitoring mitochondrial health is a key part of cell screening, for both drug screening and disease research.  Multiple markers of cell death can be detected simultaneously using flow cytometry, for a powerful analysis of cell health and status.

Cell Signaling
There are some key nodes in common cellular pathways that can be exploited to monitor signaling activity. Flow cytometry can be used to detect these markers and even to differentiate between the phosphorylated and unphosphorylated components of a pathway to monitor signaling under different conditions. 

Culture Phenotype Maintenance
Flow cytometry can also differentiate between subpopulations of cells and is widely used to assess embryonic stem cell culture and induced pluripotent stem cell culture quality during differentiation protocols. Read this article to find out how researchers at Medical University of South Carolina use flow cytometry in their lung cancer research.

Study of the immune response is important for understanding mechanisms that contribute to disease states. Immune responses are characterized by activation of multiple different cell types and signaling pathways, such as B cells, cytotoxic T cells, helper T cells and natural killer cells. Flow cytometry enables such immune cell types to be distinguished and the dynamics of the immune system to be studied.

Advances in flow cytometry technology, such as the guava easyCyte™, facilitate multidimensional cell health analyses, which are a key component of high throughput screening assays. The automated and easy-to-use platform is ideal for helping researchers to understand complex biological functions and disease mechanisms.

Download this guide for more information.

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