In the fast-evolving world of biomedical research, the ability to accurately classify and analyze cells is pivotal. Cell isolation and sorting technologies provide essential tools for researchers in several prominent fields, including immunology, cancer research, and stem cell studies.
Among the most prominent techniques are fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS), and the emerging buoyancy-activated cell sorting (BACS™). Each of these methods has unique advantages and challenges, shaping how researchers isolate and study cells.
FACS uses fluorophores to label cells. These small fluorescent molecule tags are often conjugated to antibodies that recognize specific antigens on the cell surfaces. The labeled cells are then identified and sorted based on the color of their fluorescence tags when excited by a light source. This process allows for the precise analysis of cell populations, identifying cells based on specific markers.
Widely used in research involving hematopoiesis, oncology, and stem cell research, FACS is celebrated for its versatility. Adding the ability to physically separate individual cells to the already powerful tools of flow cytometry enables researchers to sort cells based on surface markers and physical characteristics like size and granularity.
One major drawback of FACS is its time-intensive nature, often requiring several hours for large samples. Additionally, the equipment is expensive and difficult to maintain, requiring highly skilled personnel to operate. The extensive fluidic systems require a higher sample volume than other techniques, and the reuse of tubing and equipment increases the risk of contamination when not perfectly cleaned between runs.
MACS leverages magnetic fields to facilitate cell sorting, offering a rapid alternative to traditional FACS and flow cytometry methods.
This method uses magnetic microbeads conjugated with antibodies specific to certain cell antigens. The targeted cells are magnetized to the column matrix, while non-targeted cells flow through the sample column.
MACS is known for its speed and consistency, especially in processes where quick cell separation is crucial. It’s commonly used for isolating a particular cell type from a mixed population.
The process can be harsh on delicate cells, potentially affecting their viability. The cost of the magnetic beads and separation columns can also be significant.
BACS™ is the innovative and gentle proprietary approach to cell separation developed by Akadeum Life Sciences.
BACS™ uses buoyancy-activated microbubbles. These microbubbles bind to targeted cell antigens, enabling their separation based on buoyancy rather than magnetic or fluorescent properties.
BACS™ is gentle on cells, preserving their integrity and viability. It’s also cost-effective and fast, typically completing cell sorting in 30-60 minutes without requiring expensive, specialized equipment.
BACS™ is adaptable for various protocols and cell populations, including cell enrichment for immunology, leukopak processing, optimizing sample prep for flow cytometry, and customized streptavidin workflows.
|Magnetic bead-based sorting
|Buoyancy-based microbubble sorting
|Can be harsh on cells and induce apoptosis
|Harsh on membranes of delicate cells
|Universally gentle on cells
|High: Equipment and extensive upkeep
|Middle: Equipment costs and consumables
|Low: No special equipment needed
|Multiplexed labeling, can also sort size and granularity
|Adaptable to various targets
|Adaptable to various targets and assays
|Risk of cross-contamination
|High integrity and viability
Take advantage of BACS™ proven ability to isolate cells and reduce sorting time. Here are just a few ideas:
The evolution of cell sorting technologies from FACS and MACS to BACS™ represents a significant stride in biomedical research. The ability of BACS™ to handle diverse cells and samples without the need for specialized equipment or extensive sample preparation enhances its appeal in both academic and clinical research settings. This versatility ensures that BACS™ is more than just an alternative to existing methods—it’s also a comprehensive solution for a variety of cell sorting challenges
Akadeum encourages researchers and laboratories to explore the benefits of BACS™. By adopting this innovative technology, you can enhance the quality and efficiency of your cell sorting processes while minimizing costs and technical challenges.
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