What is Flow Cytometry?
A Flow Cytometry is a device that performs cell analysis. This machine is commonly used in academic studies and in the diagnosis and follow-up of immune system related diseases in hospitals. Basically, we can say that there are 4 steps for the process; sample preparation, instrument calibration, data collection and data analysis.
What are the Steps of the Experiment?
We will tell you about the 4 steps of a flow cytometry experiment. Now, we define each step and give some important details that help you understand the experiment better:
- Sample Preparation: At this step, first blood is taken from the person or from the subject which can be an animal. Mononuclear cells are separated from this blood sample and these cells are marked with special biomarkers. With the today’s technology, approximately 18 biomarkers can be used together in this experiment.
- Instrument Calibration: According to the biomarkers which will be used during the calibration stage, the surveyors are adjusted and the calibrations of these detectors are made by using control samples. For each experiment device calibration is required.
- Data Collection: At this step, the cells are passed through the tube in the experiment and a single cell passage is made in front of the laser. Due to the collusion of the the laser light and the cell, light is scattered. The scattered light is collected by detectors which combined with different optical filters. Then, the light intensity values are sent to the computer in order to make data analysis. The size, internal structure and biological properties of the cell define the light scattering features.
- Data Analysis: A variety of scattering values are obtained with the radiation values which sent to the computer. With the graphs, experts can use biological information to determine if the cell group they are looking for is on the blood and if so at what rates they are. “Grafting” is the name of the identifying and marking the relevant cell group process.
What are the Usage Areas of the Machine?
For the analysis with this machine; blood, alveolar lavage fluid, joint fluid, paraffin block tissue, tissue biopsy specimens, brain-spinal fluid, bone marrow etc. samples can be used in order to prepare a cell suspension. This method is often used for the definition of the cell death, cellular characteristics and proliferation, analyse the number and the type of microorganisms like viruses, intracellular bacteria etc., identification of parasite and fungus etc. This machine is effective in identify the cancer.
What are the Prices?
The prices of these machines vary depending on the features which they have. The prices are generally start from at least 5.000 $ and can up to 47-48.000 $. We can say that there are a few important manufactures of these machines. Flow Cytometry is an advanced method of examination and can be used effectively in laboratories.