The new cellTRAY Imaging system CT-2000 enables time-lapse imaging experiments to be run on inverted microscopes over the course of several days by ensuring that the temperature, carbon dioxide content, culture media and nutrients are all maintained at optimal levels.
This will allow researchers working in regenerative medicine, drug discovery, gene silencing and biological drug production to study their cells under optimum conditions while minimising cell degradation and enabling biologically active compounds to be added as desired.
The ability to observe live cells over extended periods of time is still quite limited in the majority of today's laboratories even though such research is vital to understanding, diagnosing and successfully treating diseases.
While there are a number of environmental control systems available on the market, few of these can control the flow of media and growth factors to cells, or be readily integrated with the existing inverted microscope systems available to researchers.
Current methods of cell analysis often limit the observation time of live cells to hours and also inhibit the ability to solve complex research questions as cell viability is often reduced during cell transfer to the microscope.
"Nanopoint's cellTRAY Imaging System Model CT-2000 delivers critical technological breakthroughs to life science and pharmacological researchers in private and academic laboratories around the world," said Cathy Owen, CEO of Nanopoint,
"We're providing the most advanced system available for in vitro research, an arena that is playing an increasingly important role in many areas of disease research, drug discovery, and therapeutic applications."
The system significantly reduces the amount of reagents and number of cells required for experiments with its use of micro wells that contain the cell samples and media. This is particularly useful for researchers studying rare and valuable samples or working with expensive or hard-to-make (bio)pharmaceutical drug candidates.
Owen highlighted several other areas where researchers will find the system to be particularly useful, including cell toxicology studies where dose response over time is a crucial measurement, stem cell research where the real time observation of differentiation is vital and studies into the delivery and success of different gene silencing strategies.
Nutrients and solutions of active pharmaceuticals are delivered to, and removed from, the wells by a series of microfluidic channels that are precisely controlled by a multiplexed pump setup no larger than a desktop computer.
There are currently two different slides available for use with the system and each has 14 regions that can be individually controlled by the microfluidic pump system. The CT-2301 contains 112 wells with 8 replicate wells in each of the 14 regions, while the CT-2300 has 1120 wells with 80 wells in each of the 14 regions.
The system's control software provides navigation, camera, shutter and filter controls, auto-focus and microfluidic control necessary for demanding time-lapse live cell imaging experiments.
"Researchers can now perform overnight time-lapse experiments without having to stay in the laboratory babysitting them," said Owen.
"This also means that they can get results much faster as they can let the images collect themselves."
Nanopoint plans to start shipping the CT-2000 towards the end of September.