Live Cell Imaging – a cell Biologist’s Dream?

Biological science is renowned for is intrinsic variability that as Biologists we try to account for with controls galore. The cell biologist has the task of getting to know a huge variety of cell lines and primary cultures with their own preferences for nutrients, density and transfection conditions and individual tolerances to stress.

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We’re often left guessing at what the cells are up to between splitting or after treatment; what the best time-point is for end-point measurements; when a protein begins to be expressed.

What if we could watch our cells Big Brother style 24-7?

I am about to find out.

We are trialling the IncuCyte® ZOOM from Essen bioscience through April.

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This live-cell analysis system allows continuous monitoring of cells within the incubator. Monitoring can be label-free phase-contrast imaging to assess growth or coupled with fluorescent labels to assess cell death, protein expression or transfection efficiency.

The following paper gives an example of the advantages of live cell imaging for accurately and sensitively quantifying drug-induced cell death by multiplexing staining for lives cells with staining for cells undergoing cell death by apoptosis.

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They effectively measure drug-induced apoptosis controlling for differences in cell number between samples due to proliferation effects and dead cell detachment with a rapid, zero-handling method producing data consistent with gold standard methods in the field.

I’m looking forward to spying on my cells during the InCuCyte trial and hopefully rapidly generating some high quality data of my own.

Blog written by Andrea Gunnell


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