New technology that identifies and removes dead and dying cells from cell populations grown in laboratories is now available to UK scientists. Removing such cells increases the efficiency of growing healthy cells and can yield clearer experimental results in a broad range of life science fields. The kits - called Dead Cert - developed by Edinburgh based ImmunoSolv, are the first of their kind to effectively remove both dead and dying cells without trauma to living cells.

"It's a great step forward," said ImmunoSolv Chief Executive Officer Ruth Murray. "Taking out dead and dying cells means the healthy cells left behind are better able to do whatever you are growing them for. The technology has many applications and can save days or weeks of time, and therefore money, because you're getting better results, faster."

In the human body, specialised immune system cells clear away dead and dying cells as part of a continual turnover and cleaning process, helping to keep the body healthy and functioning efficiently. By inventing systems for detecting and clearing away dead and dying cells in the laboratory - where natural clean-up mechanisms do not occur - ImmunoSolv's technology can induce similar positive effects in cell culture.

The technology was developed from research undertaken by Chief Scientific Officer Christopher Gregory, Professor of Inflammatory Cell Biology and Deputy Director of the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh.

The first product incorporates a monoclonal antibody that detects dead and dying cells which will be useful to researchers analysing the mechanics of cell death or monitoring cell death as part of a larger research project.

The second product includes magnetic nanoparticles with a proprietary coating that selectively bind to dead and dying cells. A magnet can then pull the particles and attached cells out of a cell culture. Removing these cells improves productivity in a variety of research areas, including growing cells to produce a certain protein or antibody, increasing the growth rate of healthy cells in culture, and enhancing the sensitivity of cell-based lab tests.

Laboratory consumables supplier Scientific Laboratory Supplies (SLS) will be the exclusive UK distributor of the Dead-Cert technologies. The company's life sciences division, Flowgen, will take the lead role in marketing the kits to laboratory researchers.

"SLS/Flowgen is a good fit for us," said Murray. "Researchers have grown accustomed to working with the presence of dead and dying cells in their experiments so there's a lot of work to be done to convince them of the benefits of using our technology. SLS and Flowgen have a trained sales force that can furnish customers with appropriate data from ImmunoSolv and deal with any technical questions that may arise."

As a major UK-based supplier of consumable lab products used for cell and tissue culture applications, in which cells or tissues are grown in controlled conditions in the laboratory, outside an organism, SLS and Flowgen have many current customers who could benefit from the new kits.

"The challenge is to raise awareness of Dead-Cert with as many potential customers as possible," said Martin Sylt, SLS Marketing Manager. "The majority of customers probably don't recognise the need to remove dead cells, but Dead-Cert can be used by every scientist using tissue culture techniques and they will see advantages from it."

To this end, Immunosolv and SLS have created a video about how to use the kits. SLS will also include leaflets about the kits in all shipments of tissue culture products. Flowgen, staffed by PhD scientists, will liaise with scientists to discuss how the researchers' work could benefit from the kits and will follow up on customers' specific questions about using the technologies.

The distribution deal, announced in June, allows ImmunoSolv to focus on its research and development efforts in expanding its product range and studying additional applications for its technologies, including stem cell research and anti cancer therapeutics. ImmunoSolv plans to establish similar distribution deals in Europe, North America, and the Far East.


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Home to more than 360 life science related companies, 9 world class Universities and several highly respected research institutes together providing employment for over 24,000 individuals, central Scotland is a major force in Scotland's life science industry.

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