Flow Contract Site Laboratory—Routine Analysis and More


When considering the applications of flow cytometry, many people think of immunophenotyping. This widespread technique involves labeling cells with fluorescent antibodies specific to certain cell types, and then identifying the relative size of cell populations in a sample by measuring the intensity of fluorescence. While this is useful in immunology, flow cytometry is capable of much more. Did you know you can get information about cell function, signaling, or receptor occupancy using flow cytometry? Here at Flow Contract Site Laboratory (FCSL), we specialize in the technology of flow cytometry, including the full range of cytometric techniques: immunophenotyping and beyond.

A laboratory that specializes in a single technology is expected to push the boundaries of its field and constantly explore new applications of the technology. At FCSL, a significant portion of our effort is devoted to doing just that. We assist in designing analytical protocols, develop novel assays and customize specialized tests to meet the specific needs of clients. In forging ahead with custom, novel assays, we strive to deliver the best outcome possible.

Our technical expertise is a source of great pride to us, and we feel confident that we can solve any problem you may have involving flow cytometry. Our approach involves continuously seeking innovative and cost-effective testing methods in order to optimize clinical and non-clinical research studies, recommendations on testing strategies for a particular protocol, or developing customized specialty tests when needed. Read on to discover our capabilities beyond routine immunophenotyping.

Flow cytometry can be used for more than just identifying cells; it can capture what functions those cells are performing. At FCSL, we have the capabilities to perform many functional assays on blood or tissue samples. Cells produce certain specific markers at different times in their life cycle, or when performing certain functions, which we take advantage of during cytometric analysis. Conjugated antibodies can be bound to these markers, which are then identified by our flow cytometers. In this fashion, the proportion of cells undergoing apoptosis, and proliferation, etc. can be determined. New techniques are able to assess cell communication, and the breadth of use of this technology is always growing.

Creative assay design by our FCSL scientists can unravel tightly-woven mysteries about cell function. The following figures are examples of two function assays offered at FCSL: a Natural Killer Cell Cytotoxicity Assay and a Basophil Activation Test.

A Basophil https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basophil

A Basophil among red blood cells https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basophil

Basophil Activation Test
In our Basophil Activation assay unstimulated negative controls and positive fMLP or IgE stimulated controls are run in parallel with patient samples. In this case, Patient 4 exhibited a negative reaction to the dust mite allergen while Patient 1 exhibited a positive signal.

In our Natural Killer Cell Assay target cells (K562 cells) are labeled and incubated with different concentrations of effector cells. The Cytotoxicity is then measured with the use of a DNA intercalating dye which can enter cells that are compromised by NK Cell killing.

It is often of interest to drug developers to assess the binding of a therapeutic to its target receptor. Flow cytometry is an efficient tool to analyze the receptor occupancy (RO) of a cell, and RO assays can answer both simple and complex questions about receptor status. Free Receptor Assays bind fluorescently-labeled compounds to unoccupied receptors in order to understand the quantity receptors are not bound by a therapeutic agent. Free and Total Receptor Assays are similar, but the detection of total receptors available involves the use of non-competitive antibodies that bind to a different epitope on the receptor from that which the drug targets, allowing for detection of all receptors, regardless of drug presence or absence. And finally, in Direct Assessment of Bound Receptor assays, a fluorescent anti-drug antibody binds directly to the drug in question itself. See the image below for a visual explanation of these assays.


n this fashion, the actual interaction between therapeutic compound and cell can be elucidated. These techniques, in combination with other flow cytometric methods, can provide a comprehensive look at how a particular compound can impact an organism’s immune system.

Of course, in addition to expertise in these unique techniques, we also have many years of experience in processing and analyzing routine assays, which will never be neglected. Our many years of experience in working with various nonclinical model organisms have shown that there is still new information that can be obtained from the most well-established procedures. Our work has taught us that no two species are alike: for example, different antibodies are required to identify Natural killer cells when analyzed in non-human primate, rodent and human as seen in the following figures.

Immune cell populations are complex, and even analyses that seem commonplace require cutting-edge knowledge to maximize the quality of results.

So when choosing a CRO to run even routine flow cytometry for your study, a specialty laboratory is the best choice. Even the most straight forward study may have unforeseen inconsistencies either due to test article effects or simple biology that a specialty laboratory would be better equipped to interpret than a laboratory where only routine assays are performed. FCSL facility is equipped with the latest specialized technology to ensure that we deliver precise and accurate analysis of flow cytometry data. We strive to be your hardworking partner in clinical research, drug discovery, and the development process. No matter how routine or complex your desired project is, we will work with you to provide modern tools and stellar expertise.

Our unique, customizable flow cytometry service epitomizes our dedication to transform technology and data into vital medical insight for sponsors and clients. We want you to take important strides in the field of clinical research, trial, and drug-development, and we want to help you on your journey. We perform Flow cytometry on peripheral blood, bone marrow, , and cells derived from various tissues such lymph nodes, solid tumors and more. We employ most recent Flow cytometry technologies, including BD FACS Canto cytometers with 6-color, 8-color, and our recently-added 10-color instruments. These provide complete flow cytometry data to our sponsors in a timely fashion and help them with their clinical and non-clinical studies.

Our expert staff is always available to help you guide through these tests and we welcome clients to visit our facility. We encourage sponsor engagement throughout the process. Contact us for more information!