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  • IncuCyte Imaging System
Jun 2006
Essen BioScience Inc.Request Info
For Automated Live-Cell/Kinetic Incubator Imaging
ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 16, 2006 -- IncuCyte is the first commercially available incubator imaging system, according to its manufacturer, Essen Instruments. Unlike most imaging technologies, IncuCyte is the first of its kind that allows one to do kinetic, noninvasive imaging of cells in culture right inside the well-controlled incubator environment.

The system is 8-in. high and fits on a single shelf inside most standard user-supplied CO2 incubators. Imaging is automated and performed around-the-clock, requiring no human intervention. This noninvasive approach allows researchers to capture all valuable kinetic cellular information which otherwise would be lost with standard end-point assays, Essen said.

IncuCyte.jpgIncuCyte can be used for cell-based assay optimization and quality control as it generates noninvasive kinetic growth curves (derived from the imagery) which can detect changes in a culture caused by substrate variation, media formulation, serum concentration, cell passage etc. For example, the company has used the platform to optimize serum concentration for a given cell-based assay and has shown that certain cell types actually "prefer" lower serum concentrations. Such data can have significant cost-saving implications for a high-throughput screening campaign, Essen said.

Since IncuCyte provides a consistent and noninvasive metric of cell culture day to day, this information can also be used to optimize conditions for a functional assay. IncuCyte has been used at Essen, for example, to optimize the functional expression of the company's hERG ion channel assay utilizing its high-throughput IonWorks electrophysiology system. Once optimized, this information can be used to insure that cells for harvest and cells for passage are maintained at optimum growth cycles particular to that assay.

Aside from monitoring and optimizing culture conditions, IncuCyte can also be used as an assay, providing non-invasive, kinetic readout for live-cell proliferation and or toxicology assays where typically only invasive, end-point measurements are made. Live cell assays, which take hours to days, are ideal candidates for IncuCyte. Essen said it is developing a host of applications to take advantage of this capability, especially in the areas of cell motility assays.

The company said it considers the IncuCyte platform a next-generation laboratory tool. The system is web-based, allowing users to log into their "virtual incubator" from anywhere in the world and keep electronic records of culture variability over time (images and growth curves) with no additional labor resource. Since the system is network driven, sharing of information becomes very efficient when working with colleagues or collaborators. Multiple users can be logged into IncuCyte and various levels of security for viewing information can be designated. No more running to the incubator to check cells -- IncuCyte allows this to be done from the comfort of the office, or perhaps even from home.

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