Don't Simply Automate the Workflow. Improve it.
The dropping process has remained a highly manual technique for years, leaving an automation void between harvesters and microscopes. CellWriter™ now completes the continuum, by automating the dropping process to deliver quality spread interphase and metaphase nuclei for analysis.
The CellWriter 120, 480, and 960 represent a family of robotic workstations that produce slides for both Karyotyping and FISH. By integrating BioDot's nanoliter dispenser (the BioJet™) with exquisite temperature and humidity control, we have developed a highly efficient system that produces quality slides.
BioDot further simplifies the workflow by introducing our new, patented FISHArray™ technology. Complete single sample/multi-probe assays can now be condensed onto one slide. Alternatively, 8 separate samples can be interrogated by the same probe. Simultaneously.
So How Does CellWriter Impact Today's Cytogenetic and Molecular Cytogenetic Lab?
- Automates the manual dropping process
- Improves dropping consistency and throughput
- Automates the probe dispensing process
- Reduces the slides that have to be processed (washed, hybridized, analyzed)
- Reduces reagent costs
- Improves microscope efficiency
By bringing the power of multiplexing to FISH, CellWriter workstations allow the FISH lab to experience the same efficiencies enjoyed by other assay classes (qPCR, arrays, etc.). The impact is recognized throughout the entire workflow (fewer washes, fewer hybridizations, and fewer slides to analyze). This new format also improves inspection efficiencies. How much more efficient could you be at analyzing slides if you knew exactly where the cells were, every time? How much faster would your automated scope be, if it knew where to scan?
Say Goodbye to Rubber Cement ...
The architecture of our CellWriter Slide™ removes the need to apply rubber cement coverlips to slides prior to the hybridization process (sorry Emler's). Glue application and removal is both messy and time consuming. CellWriter and our FISHArray technology alleviate this step, allowing technicians to focus their time on the more technically challenging aspects of the workflow.
The Power of Arrays Has Come to FISH. Finally.
BioDot has developed a new, patented method of performing FISH assays in high throughput. By applying non-contact nanoliter technology to the dropping process, multiple cell samples can be applied to a single slide as discrete spots. This now opens the door to having multiple FISH assays on one slide. FISH labs can run complete assays (up to 8 probes) or test multiple samples with one probe.
Patent No. US 7754439
Patent No. US 8323882
The power of multiplexing comes from consolidating data to one unit and performing many assays simultaneously. FISH labs can now experience what arrays have been doing for many years. The impact is far reaching, creating efficiencies that ripple through the entire process (from washing to analysis).
Miniaturize Without Compromising Results…
While the physical area of the analysis has been reduced by applying nanoliter technology to molecular cytogenetics, the process has been optimized to maintain three key aspects of the process.
Spreading quality is critical to proper hybridization and eventual analysis. The key to the spreading process is drying time on the slide. Temperature and humidity levels have been developed so that ideal drying times are conserved, leading to an automated method where both interphase and metaphase nuclei spread properly and consistently.
Technicians also need the proper number of cells within each spot to make a valid assessment. While miniaturization can potentially reduce the number of cells present, BioDot has optimized concentrations so that an abundance of cells are present in each spot (1000+).
The CellWriter Slide™ has been designed to include hydrophobic barriers that protect each FISH assay. This creates unique assay ‘zones’ that prevent samples or probes from interacting with near-by assays.
About Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization (FISH)
Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) is a research technique used to map specific genes or portions of genes in the cells of a person. This technique dates back 20 years when it was first introduced. It quickly became a preferred biological test, due to its wide applications, its focus on in situ studies and the ease with which it can be implemented. Since then, the technology has undergone various methodological maturations and modifications aimed at bettering it overall and, ultimately, making it superior. Today, the technique is characterized by low noise hybridization probes, quantitative analysis and multi-target visualizations.
The FISH technique is used to map out genes in cells. The principle of the technique is fairly simple and involves a DNA probe and target sequence. The DNA probe must be labeled either directly or indirectly with a reporter molecule before hybridization takes place. The probe and the target DNA sequence then undergo denaturing. Since the two are combined, complementary DNA sequences between the probe and the target sequence allow for annealing. The annealed sequences are extended to make them easier to visualize. In case where the DNA probe was labeled directly, the visualization process will be simple under a fluorescent microscope as the labeled sequence will be clearly visualized as it fluoresces. The FISH technique is very rapid, stable and easy to implement and as such very desirable.
Fluorescent in situ hybridization is applied in a wide variety of procedures in biomedical research. Due to its ability to map genes and chromosomes, it is successfully used to detect genetic disorders in children with unexplained developmental disabilities. Some of the diseases it diagnoses include Down Syndrome, Cri-du-chat and Prader-Willi Syndrome among many others.
FISH is also used in cancer research to diagnose the existence of cancer or evaluate its remission. This is usually done after removing tissue from area suspected to have cancer. The tissue are then assayed to determine the presence of cancerous genes such as the HER2 gene in breast cancer and in so doing form a diagnosis. Another application is in clinical studies to diagnose bacterial and viral infections. These species can be detected directly in patients sample suing the right marker.
At the time of its discovery, the FISH technique experienced major difficulties. There were no commercial hybridization kits and the fluorescent dyes available were few and unstable. Also, acquiring the probes was a problem and so was imaging as the fluorescent microscopes available then had poor objective and a lot of aberrations.
Recent developments have however refined his technique greatly making it one of the most accurate biomedical research techniques. Commercial kits and reagents are available, fluorescent dyes are more readily available and in many colors and fluorescent microscopes have become advanced eliminating chromatic aberrations. There is even imaging software for live cell imaging enabling multi target visualizations and also quantitative analysis. Suffice to say, the technique has become more affordable and widely available.