Programming Cancer Cells to Self-Destruct

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-05-2014

Automated Droplet Generator Saves Time and Improves Data Quality

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-03-2014

Bio-Rad Laboratories announced the launch of its Automated Droplet Generator (AutoDG™ Instrument) for digital PCR. Combined with the QX200™ Droplet Reader and a laptop computer with QuantaSoft™ Software, the QX200™ AutoDG™ Droplet Digital™ PCR System provides a worry-free, automated way to generate droplets for high-quality data.

“With a quick setup, you’re able to walk away and return to a full plate of droplets ready for thermal cycling and analysis,” said Carolyn Reifsnyder, Bio-Rad marketing manager, Digital Biology Center.

Generating droplets with a hand pipet can be labor intensive and time consuming, and variations in pipetting habits among different users can cause some degree of inconsistency in the resulting data. Bio-Rad’s AutoDG Instrument creates droplets quickly, reproducibly, and reliably. At maximum capacity, the system can generate droplets for 96 wells in less than 45 minutes.

“Droplet Digital PCR is sensitive enough to detect differences in people’s pipetting habits,” said Viresh Patel, Bio-Rad senior marketing manager, Digital Biology Center. “This instrument eliminates that variability.”

The AutoDG Instrument has its own hood and HEPA filter, reducing contamination so researchers can create droplets on a standard laboratory bench, without the need for a PCR cabinet or cleanroom. Adding to the instrument’s ease of use is a color touch-screen interface and deck lighting that guides the operator through system setup to ensure no steps are forgotten. Confirmation is provided once the required consumables are loaded correctly and 45 minutes later the droplets are ready.

Bio-Rad’s AutoDG Instrument can generate droplets for fluorescent probe–based detection or EvaGreen dye–based detection. The instrument is compatible with the QX100™ and QX200 Droplet Digital PCR Systems.

For more information on Bio-Rad’s AutoDG Droplet Digital PCR System, please visit www.bio-rad.com/AutoDGpr.

Don’t Mess With Nature!

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-30-2014

Tumor in a Dish May Change the Face of Cancer Treatment

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-29-2014

One of the tragic realities of cancer is that the drugs used to treat it are highly toxic and their effectiveness varies unpredictably from patient to patient. However, a new “tumor-in-a-dish” technology is poised to change this reality by rapidly assessing how effective specific anti-cancer cocktails will be on an individual’s cancer before chemotherapy begins.

A team of biomedical engineers at Vanderbilt University headed by Assistant Professor Melissa Skala has developed the technique, which uses fluorescence imaging to monitor the response of three-dimensional chunks of tumors removed from patients and exposed to different anti-cancer drugs.

Read more…

Revenge of Morgan’s Fruit Flies

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-28-2014

In 1933, Thomas H. Morgan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries concerning the role played by the chromosome in heredity. Much of his research involved breading Drosophila melanogaster, in which he demonstrated sex linkage of the gene for white eyes in the fly. While Morgan ultimately received a Nobel Prize for his work, the real stars of his experiments, the fruit flies, had to be satisfied with much less recognition. In response, several of his subjects composed a song expressing their dissatisfaction with the way they have been treated. Here is their song: