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Molecular Imaging Flow Cytometry (MI-FCM)

MI-FCM can detect protein locations and types of chromosomal aberrations within a cell in a high-throughput FCM format. RDCE is now aiming to develop novel applications of this platform with regard to CTC and FISH testing.

MI-FCM has advanced the core technology of “flow cytometry (FCM)”, which enables the observation of cell morphology, provides intracellular information on genes and proteins, and enables the measurement with high accuracy of rare cells in samples.

At present, we are developing applications of the following two systems by utilizing MI-FCM technology:

Flow-FISH (Fluorescence In-situ Hybridization) test system

FISH testing is a chromosomal testing method employed in the diagnosis of cancer and other diseases. The current multi-step method involves looking through an optical microscope to determine whether genes within a cell are normal or abnormal. As this method is manual, it requires considerable effort on the part of clinical laboratory staff and limits the number of cells that can be tested.

The system comprising Imaging Flow Cytometer MI-1000 and related software MI FISH Master captures the morphology and fluorescent images of large quantities of cells at high speed and with a high level of detail. These images are then analyzed automatically, using imaging FCM technology to automatically detect chromosomal abnormalities contained in cells in the blood.

Flow FISH testing can analyze more than 10,000 cells automatically in around 10 minutes. As well as contributing to testing efficiency and standardization, this method achieves better reproducibility than conventional manual FISH testing (CV = 9.9% vs 57.4%), as it enables measurement of 20 to 100 times more cells.

Reproducibility of low positive cell rate sample

Flow-FISH showed significantly higer reproducibility compared to Slide-FISH
Flow-FISH provided identical qualitative results as Slide-FISH

Circulating tumor cell (CTC) detection system

CTCs are defined as cells that are left from primary or metastatic tumor tissues and circulated in the blood. CTCs are thought to be present in minutely small quantities in the peripheral blood of solid cancer patients, and some of these cells have the potential to metastatize to other sites. The number or characterization of CTCs can be useful for predicting the disease state and providing optimized treatment. We have developed a highly accurate CTC measurement system by combining MI-FCM with a cell separation and concentration device, which discriminates CTCs from other cells based on size.

The CTC detection system is under development for analyzing CTCs by combining MI-FCM with a cell separation and concentration device that includes a microchannel chip. When a prepared blood sample is introduced into the microchannel chip, CTCs are separated from other blood components such as leucocytes based on cell size. After separation, the number of CTCs and their characteristics are analyzed by MI-FCM.

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