Launch of “Flow Focus” – Clinical flow cytometry e-newsletter!Correspondence Address :
Dr Swaroop K Sood
Senior Consultant & Head
And Coordinator Hospital Laboratory Services
BLK Memorial Hospital
New Delhi â€“ 110005
The Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorter (FACS) was invented in the late 1960s by Bonner, Sweet, Hulett, Herzenberg, and others to do flow cytometry and cell sorting of viable cells. Wolfgang GĂ¶hde from the University of MĂĽnster, Germany was the first to develop a fluorescence-based flow cytometry device (ICP 11) in the year 1968 and this was first commercialized in 1968/69 by German developer and manufacturer Partec through Phywe AG in GĂ¶ttingen. At that time absorption methods were still widely favored by other scientists over fluorescence methods. Originally flow cytometry technology was named pulse cytophotometry (German: Impulszytophotometrie). It was only 10 years later in 1978, at the Conference of the American Engineering Foundation in Pensacola, Florida, the name was changed to flow cytometry, a term which quickly became popular. Subsequently introduced flow cytometry instruments have been the Cytofluorograph (1971) from Bio/Physics Systems Inc., the PAS 8000 (1973) from Partec, the first FACS instrument from Becton Dickinson (1974), the ICP 22 (1975) from Partec/Phywe and the Epics from Coulter (1977/78). Over the years, the number of measured FACS dimensions (parameters) and the speed of sorting have increased to where we now simultaneously measure 12 fluorescent colors plus 2 scatter parameters. The great utility of this state-of-the-art instrument lies in the fact that it allows us to simultaneously stain, analyze, and then sort cells from small samples of human blood cells from AIDS patients, patients with haemaopoitic malignancies, infants, stem cell transplant patients, and others. Modern flow cytometers are able to analyse several thousand particles every second, in "real time", and can actively separate and isolate particles having specified properties. A flow cytometer is similar to a microscope, except that instead of producing an image of the cell, flow cytometry offers "high-throughput" (for a large number of cells) automated quantification of set parameters.
The technology has applications in a number of fields, including molecular biology, pathology, immunology, plant biology and marine biology. In the field of molecular biology it is especially useful when used with fluorescence tagged antibodies. These specific antibodies bind to antigens on the target cells and help to give information on specific characteristics of the cells being studied in the cytometer. It has broad application in medicine (especially in transplantation, haematology, tumor immunology and chemotherapy, genetics and sperm sorting for sex preselection). Single cell sorting can be used to clone and analyze hybridomas and other applications which include such areas as apoptosis, gene expression, cytokine expression, cell biochemistry, redox regulation, etc. New FACS methods for measuring activated kinases and phosphatases and redox active enzymes in individual cells simultaneously with cell surface phenotyping have been developed. Thus, the scientific potential of FACS as a research tool or its utility to assist in diagnosis is growing every day.
While the utility of flow cytometry in the west has grown tremendously, it is interesting to note that several laboratories/hospitals in India have installed the flow cytometers during the last 5 years. Many more are likely to have these during the next 5 years. It is high time, therefore, that some inputs in form of an e-newsletter are started. This would help the users to discuss their problems with each other. It gives me immense pleasure to announce that my colleagues have taken an initiative to launch an e-newsletter entitled â€śFlow Focusâ€ť. Its success depends on the combined interest and contributions of the users of flow cytometry. It is my hope that this e-news letter will eventually blossom into an academic journal.
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