Basophils are granulocytes known for their roles in immune responses to parasitic infection and IgE-mediated immediate allergic reactions. Basophils are the rarest granulocyte in peripheral blood and share phenotypic and functional features with mast cells but can be differentiated based on phenotypic markers and activation assays. Flow cytometry-based basophil activation assays are widely used for diagnostics, particularly for allergy diagnoses. Basophil activation is mediated primarily by crosslinking of the high affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI), which activates different signaling pathways and leads to degranulation. Activated basophils express unique molecules, including CD63 and CD203c, which can be detected by flow cytometry to assess the level of basophil activation. Many basophil activation assay kits (also known as allergenicity kits) are available, but may limit the scope of your basophil analysis, based on the fluorescent antibodies used to stain activation markers. Custom assays afford you the flexibility to design a staining panel that works under your desired experimental conditions and flow cytometer parameters.
Flow Cytometry Blog
Flow cytometry is a powerful technique for characterizing immune responses to vaccines, immunotherapeutic drugs, and other clinical interventions. But many preclinical and clinical studies may take place at sites that are not in the same location as the flow cytometry lab.
That’s why it’s critical to determine how clinical specimens should be collected, processed, stored, and shipped to assure that cells will be viable and abundant enough for flow cytometry analysis.
Posted in Clinical Development
Cell sorting fits into a special niche in the flow cytometry world. This technology enables users to isolate specific cell populations using cellular targets that can be stained with fluorescent antibodies. Cell sorting is a unique tool because it gives users the power to find and collect cells that are proverbial ‘needles in a haystack.’ Many flow cytometry users are reluctant to take on cell sorting because they are wary of using an instrument they view as complicated and finicky. But most cell sorters today are very user friendly and don’t invoke the use of oscilloscopes and black magic like their first generation counterparts.
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy is transforming patient-specific cancer treatment, even for the most challenging forms of cancer. CAR T cells are made by isolating a patient’s T cells from the blood and engineering them in the lab so that they can specifically fight the patient’s cancer. This custom-made biologic is both time and labor-intensive and extremely costly, but it is also an extremely effective form of treatment.
Immunophenotyping is a type of flow cytometry-based analysis in which cells are stained with fluorescently-conjugated antibodies for specific surface and intracellular molecules that define different immune cell populations. Immunophenotyping has been widely used for decades since the advent of cytometers that can detect four colors, and today’s state-of-the-art cytometers allow for concurrent immunophenotypic analysis of numerous cell subsets.
Immunophenotyping has been critical to immuno-oncology research because it allows researchers to monitor changes in the immune system, including potent anti-tumor responses or unexpected off-target responses.