Out of necessity, small bench top clinical diagnostic instruments have been limited in on-board features that can be packed into the dimensions of a stand-alone instrument. This often reduces the functionality of these machines to a narrow range of tests and can also substantially increase the complexity and cost of the consumable components. We have addressed these limitations in a novel bench top clinical device. With confocal optics in combination with an autofocusing method we are able to target and image a thin layer of cells for analysis of shape and spectral properties. Due to the non-CCD based detection method, the system has an optimized depth of focus that allows for detection of cells while rejecting bulk background fluorescence, thus greatly reducing background signal and increasing signal-to-noise. The flexibility in the cartridge design allows for a wide variety of assays, including multi- step reagent mixing and incubation, and multiple assays on a single sample. Further, use of volumetric capillaries allows the determination of absolute cell counts in specified volumes, eliminating the need for counting references. The multi-PMT detection takes advantage of assays using multiple stains. Bar code reading allows for sample identification and other information. On-board communications interfacing allows flexible LIS options, remote software upgrading, and detailed development and debug information access. We present laser-scanning cytometer with a small footprint that includes on-board liquid handling and facilitates a diverse set of clinical assays, while improving user-safety and ease of use.
Bio-Rad Laboratories supplies imaging equipment for many applications in the life sciences. As part of our effort to offer more flexibility to the investigator, we are developing a microscope-based imaging spectrometer for the automated detection and analysis of either conventionally or fluorescently labeled samples. Immediate applications will include the use of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technology. The field of cytogenetics has benefited greatly from the increased sensitivity of FISH producing simplified analysis of complex chromosomal rearrangements. FISH methods for identification lends itself to automation more easily than the current cytogenetics industry standard of G- banding, however, the methods are complementary. Several technologies have been demonstrated successfully for analyzing the signals from labeled samples, including filter exchanging and interferometry. The detection system lends itself to other fluorescent applications including the display of labeled tissue sections, DNA chips, capillary electrophoresis or any other system using color as an event marker. Enhanced displays of conventionally stained specimens will also be possible.