Tomorrow’s advances in health care and knowledge depend on today’s basic research on the fundamental causes of disease. This basic research provides an understanding how complex biological processes work and leads to the discovery of targets for new therapies.
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Flow cytometry is a technique used to detect and measure physical and chemical characteristics of a population of cells or particles.
A sample containing cells or particles is suspended in a fluid and injected into the flow cytometer instrument. The sample is focused to ideally flow one cell at a time through a laser beam and the light scattered is characteristic to the cells and their components. Cells are often labeled with fluorescent markers so that light is first absorbed and then emitted in a band of wavelengths. Tens of thousands of cells can be quickly examined and the data gathered are processed by a computer.
Flow cytometry is routinely used in basic research, clinical practice, and clinical trials. Uses for flow cytometry include:
- Cell counting
- Cell sorting
- Determining cell characteristics and function
- Detecting microorganisms
- Biomarker detection
- Protein engineering detection
- Diagnosis of health disorders such as blood cancers
A flow cytometry analyzer is an instrument that provides quantifiable data from a sample.