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To Advance Research, LumaCyte Scientists Look at Cells in a New Light

Posted: 12th August 2015 08:20

With the advent of next generation techniques to advance biological and medical research, scientists are beginning to appreciate the value of single cell analysis and sorting. This trend led Dr. Sean J. Hart, Founder and CEO of LumaCyte, to make important advancements in this burgeoning field.

"The discovery of new biological and medical knowledge will come from an unbiased tool," he said from LumaCyte's offices inCharlottesville, VA.

"If one must know in advance what is being sought, then necessarily the outcome shall be biased towards what is understood rather than what is unknown or new. For decades we've relied almost exclusively on antibody labels. However, the very tools we are relying on (antibodies) to identify what we are looking for can introduce bias and prevent us from discovering new biological phenomena. For many applications such as cancer biology and early stage drug discovery, antibodies don't always provide acceptable detection due to false negatives or positives. In addition, labels can cause inflammatory reactions that change cells, impact results, and thus mar conclusions."  

Since launching LumaCyte's research and development service business, Dr. Hart and his team have worked closely with scientists at pharmaceutical and biotech companies, vaccine manufacturers, as well as university-based research centers.  Repeatedly, LumaCyte staff hear fellow researchers talk about the limits and difficulties of traditional label-based approaches to single cell analysis.

"Label-based analysis contributes to bias that touches everything from experimental design to data analysis and interpretation," said Dr. Hart. "The truth is that current label-based tools and approaches significantly limit our ability to discover changes outside of what is currently understood at the cellular level."

The bias associated with the prevailing methods contributes to the high attrition rate of drug candidates in human clinical trials. This is a costly problem because it results in substantial loss of time, capital investment, and most importantly, human lives. 

In contrast, the use of a high content label-free system during preclinical screening may help better predict the clinical performance of a drug candidate.

LumaCyte's flagship product, Radiance™, is a high content label-free microfluidic cell analyzer and sorter that uses lasers and microfluidics to enable researchers to characterize and sort single cells by measuring their intrinsic properties.

"I am very optimistic about our future and also about the growing field of label-free single cell analysis," said Dr. Hart.

"By using an unbiased label-free research tool, scientists may better understand cellular biology, allowing them to accelerate the successful development of new drug candidates and vaccines that will ultimately help people live longer and healthier lives. We're honored to play a role in such an important effort."

About LumaCyte:

LumaCyte is an advanced research and instrument development company headquartered in Charlottesville, VA. LumaCyte produces next generation cell analysis and sorting instrumentation that do not require the use of antibody or genetic labelling for analysis of mammalian cells. This revolutionary technology utilizes optical and fluidic forces within a microfluidic device to identify and measure intrinsic properties of single cells. Applications of LumaCyte's label-free platform technology include viral infectivity, cancer biology, infectious disease, and pre-clinical drug discovery.

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