Industry News: CyTOF Technology Brought to Leading Universities to Advance Clinical Research

7 UK universities to acquire Helios mass cytometry systems to drive life-changing health discoveries

20 May 2017

Fluidigm Corporation have announced that leading research institutions in the UK have partnered to acquire and implement seven Helios™ mass cytometry systems to empower life-changing discoveries in human health. Supported by the Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative (CRII) of the UK Medical Research Council (MRC), the MRC Consortium for Mass Cytometry includes researchers from the universities of Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Cambridge, Birmingham and Oxford and University College London. 

Helios utilizes CyTOF® technology to enable deep profiling of translational and clinical research samples across a range of cell surface and intracellular markers by mass cytometry. Designed to significantly reduce signal overlap, mass cytometry empowers researchers to simultaneously interrogate cellular phenotypes, function and signaling status in higher dimension than traditional fluorescent methods. Mass cytometry is especially valuable in research studies when sample volumes are limited.

In support of the MRC Consortium for Mass Cytometry, Fluidigm sponsored the 2017 UK Mass Cytometry User Meeting, a two-day symposium held in London on March 21 and 22. This meeting brought together scientists from 19 major UK research centers to share recent research advances and best practices in mass cytometry.

"The Technology Directorate at Liverpool led the procurement and development of the MRC Consortium for Mass Cytometry in the UK," said Professor Robert Beynon, PhD, academic head of the Technology Directorate at the University of Liverpool. "By organizing the UK users meeting, Fluidigm is helping to make this vision, of pooled knowledge and shared infrastructure, a reality."

Symposium speakers included scientists from within the MRC consortium as well as mass cytometry users from other locations and technical specialists from Fluidigm. Topics included fundamentals of instrument operation and sample preparation, design of high-parameter biomarker panels, best practices for integrating mass cytometry into a core facility and cutting-edge research underway at several consortium locations.

Click here to read about how researchers are using mass cytometry to create 3-dimensional tumor maps > 

"My favorite aspects of the meeting were being able to hear and discuss how the different groups associated with the consortium (and indeed other mass cytometry users outside the consortium) have developed and use the technology for different aspects of research, and also how they have adapted mass cytometry within their core service providers for wider use by their universities," said Joseph Slupsky, PhD, academic lead for the University of Liverpool Cell Sorting and Mass Cytometry Facility.

Dr. Slupsky's research is focused on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). "I am using mass cytometry to measure phenotypic changes, signal transduction and gene expression within distinct subpopulations of CLL cells," Dr. Slupsky said. "Mass cytometry will also be used to understand patient response to drug therapy in this disease and gain insight into the mechanisms of drug toxicity and efficacy."

"We are enthusiastic about the collective power of the MRC Consortium for Mass Cytometry to achieve new breakthroughs in an environment of shared infrastructure and best practices," said Chris Linthwaite, President and CEO of Fluidigm. "The great progress these institutions have made since the successful installation of these seven systems was evident at our recent UK user meeting."