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True screening for immunology: transforming science with a practical tool for large-scale discovery

Posted: 10 June 2015 | IntelliCyt Corporation

The immune system plays a vital role in keeping us alive but also participates in many diseases adversely affecting quality of life across the globe. It can be over activated, leading to a variety of inflammation and autoimmune diseases, or suppressed, leading to a vast array of diseases from AIDS to cancer. Modulation of the immune system, including the identification of specific antibodies to be used as therapies, holds much promise and is one of the hottest areas of medical research today.

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Enormous effort is being put into understanding the interactions that make up the complex communications of the immune system so that they can be used as targets for therapeutic intervention. Whether the goal is finding a new therapeutic antibody, developing a specific checkpoint inhibitor, or evaluating which modified CAR – T cell population is killing a patient’s cancer cells, the need to evaluate more samples in a biologically relevant, reproducible and cost effective way has become acute.

Flow cytometry, the gold standard of detection in immunology research for decades, provides a high degree of data content on cell phenotypes and functions, and yet suffers limitations in terms of assay throughput, automation, sample/reagent volume requirements, and ease of use. Even advances in microplate auto-sampling for standard flow fails to address issues of reducing reagent cost, expertise required for assay setup, and dealing effectively with plate based data analysis and visualisation of results. Because these issues remain, the broad adoption of flow cytometry for screening applications has been hampered.

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