Cell therapy is the therapeutic use of live cells isolated from the patient or donor sources to treat diseases and repair damaged tissues. The technique has broad applications ranging from treating cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and neurogenerative conditions to tissue regeneration and replacement. A variety of cells have been purposed for cell therapies, including allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), hematopoietic stem cells, cancer cells, and autologous genetically modified immune cells.
Viable cells constitute the core of cellular therapy and exhibit prominent sensitivity to even minor changes in their environment that can potentially render the therapy ineffective. For that reason, technologies, aiming to optimize upstream research and manufacturing, are crucial for the production of quality cell therapies. Non-invasive live-cell imaging not only minimizes the risk of contamination introduced through manipulating and sampling cultures but can also aid in identifying and studying potential cell therapies.
Quantification of biological therapeutics
Adipose tissue is a valuable source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Once isolated, these cells need to be counted and normally it is performed manually using the Trypan Blue exclusion assay and the Burker chamber. However, manual cell counting has a high element of subjectivity due to handling errors, lack of precision, and inter-user variability. Automated cell counters are designed for high reproducibility and precision, allowing to reduce inconsistency and variability between different cell counts. The CytoSMART Exact FL is an automated cell counter that can be used for counting isolated MSCs, as well as determining the proliferation capacity of these cells.
Ensuring monoclonality in standard well plate formats
Cell therapies often require the isolation and cloning of single cells. Various techniques exist to show the isolation of single cells, with the limiting dilutions remaining the best method to ensure clonality. When using this method, the most effective way to establish that a single cell was plated is to image the entire surface of the well. To circumvent the occurrence of the ‘edge effect’ and facilitate plating of single cells, the modified version of the limiting dilution method has been developed that involves overlaying the droplets of dilutions of limited volume with an immiscible liquid. The CytoSMART Omni can then scan the content of individual wells of multi-well plates to see whether single cells are contained within plated droplets.