Thanks for visiting Imaging and Machine Vision Europe.

You're trying to access an editorial feature that is only available to logged in, registered users of Imaging and Machine Vision Europe. Registering is completely free, so why not sign up with us?

By registering, as well as being able to browse all content on the site without further interruption, you'll also have the option to receive our magazine (multiple times a year) and our email newsletters.

High-speed camera cuts cell analysis from days to minutes

Share this on social media:

Heart-shaped flow lines are formed in the flow cytometry setup. Copyright Zellmechanik Dresden

Scientists at the Dresden University of Technology have developed a high-speed imaging technique able to analyse cell samples 10,000 times faster than conventional methods.

The Real-Time Deformability Cytometry (RT-DC), which the team has called AcCellerator, is able to measure up to 1,000 cells per second. The scientists have founded a company, Zellmechanik Dresden, to commercialise the flow cytometry technique.

The mechanical properties of a cell give information about its health – how a cell deforms can act as a label-free biomarker to gain understanding about drug treatment effects, immune cell activation, stem cell differentiation, cancer prognosis, or the assessment of state and quality of cultured cells.

The RT-DC technique forces cells through a micro-channel, and the pressure gradient of the fluid creates a flow profile and deforms the cells. Softer cells display greater deformations.

The cells flow through the cytometry setup at a speed of 10cm/s and are viewed under a microscope with 400x magnification. An EoSens CL high-speed camera from Mikrotron is connected to the microscope and captures each individual cell, at up to 4,000 frames per second.

The camera also controls the 1μs LED light impulse sent out for each image acquisition. The standard resolution of 250 x 80 pixels is automatically adjusted to the channel width.

All images are transferred in real time to the computer via a Camera Link interface. A program based on National Instruments LabView then measures the deformation of each cell; analysing a single image takes less than 250μs.

‘This process enables us to measure the mechanical properties of several hundred cells per second. In one minute, this permits us to carry out analysis that would take a week in the technologies we used before,’ said Dr Oliver Otto, CEO of Zellmechanik Dresden. ‘Within 15 minutes, a precise characterisation of all blood cell types, including cell activation status, is analysed. Due to the high throughput of cells, only one single drop of blood is needed for the analysis.’ 

Thanks to the AcCellerator, cell mechanic evaluation has become usable in clinical applications for the first time. In the future, mechanical fingerprinting of cells could be used for fast diagnosis as well as for monitoring infections. Blood count changes or metastasising cells can be detected in minutes.

The technology is also opening up many new areas of application in research by enabling scientists to examine all processes in which cytoskeleton changes are responsible for the mechanical stabilisation of the cell, including migration or cell division.

Company: 

Related news

Recent News

23 June 2020

VDMA Robotics and Automation stated that the 'coronavirus crisis has highlighted how vulnerable industrial production has become in global value chains'

17 June 2020

The $5m funding will speed up the availability of Slamcore's products, including its SDK, a toolkit for developers to build, test and deploy solutions using Slamcore algorithms and off-the-shelf sensors

02 June 2020

Isra Vision's revenue fell nine per cent to €64.6m over the first half of its financial year, with impacts from Covid-19 in Asia from January, and in America and Europe towards the end of the second quarter

29 May 2020

The job cuts are part of steps Cognex is taking to lower expenses because of deteriorating market conditions. The firm's CEO and chairman will waive their salaries, and the company’s board of directors have waived their cash fees for the remainder of the year