Flow cytometry in drug discovery and development

With a range of tools available to scientists in the field of therapeutic discovery and development, flow cytometry presents an advantageous method to sort cells based on subtle differences. To find out more, Drug Target Review’s Victoria Rees spoke with Dr Peter O’Toole, Head of Imaging and Cytometry and Dr Karen Hogg at the University of York in the UK, who run an open access laboratory within the Bioscience Technology Facility, to discover how flow cytometry is shaping drug discovery and how they think the technique will evolve.

Statistics. That is why flow cytometry is so powerful for biological research, whether it be drug discovery or other lines of life science research,” explained O’Toole. “When you look under a microscope, you get an image and as they say, a picture can say a thousand words; but a flow cytometer can give you a million data points.”

Although most flow cytometers do not provide researchers with a full image, O’Toole emphasised that it is one of the best techniques for identifying rare events or to get a true quantitative measurement. Furthermore, the speed of acquisition is crucial. According to O’Toole, it is possible to collect tens of thousands of data from single cells per second with flow cytometry.