Flow Cytometry

Flow cytometry is a quantitative technique for measuring multiple cell parameters.  The technique is most commonly used in oncology and immunology.   A flow cytometer detects and counts individual cells passing in a stream through a laser beam.  These instruments are used to study the properties of cell subsets identified using monoclonal antibodies to cell-surface protein.  Individual cells within a mixed population are first tagged by treatment with specific monoclonal antibodies labeled with fluorescent dyes.  The mixture of labeled cells is then forced through a nozzle in a single-cell stream that passes through a laser beam.  As each cell passes through the laser beam it scatters the laser light, and any dye molecules bound to the cell will be excited and will fluoresce.  Sensitive photomultiplier tubes detect both the scattered light, which gives information on the size and granularity of the cell, and the fluorescence emissions, which give information on the binding of the labeled monoclonal antibodies and hence on the expression of cell-surface proteins by the cell.  When cells are labeled with a single fluorescent antibody, the data from a flow cytometer are usually displayed in the form of a histogram of fluorescence intensity versus cell numbers.  If two or more antibodies are used, each coupled to different fluorescent dyes, then the data are displayed in the form of a two-dimensional scatter diagram, where the fluorescence of one dye-labeled antibody is plotted against that of a second.  As the power of flow cytometry technology has grown, progressively more antibodies labeled with distinct fluorescent dyes can be used at the same time.  Three-, four-, and even five-color analyses can now be performed by the newer clinical flow cytometers.

The DMC UL flow cytometry laboratory performs immunophenotypic studies used in the evaluation of potential leukemias, lymphomas, other hematopoietic/lymphoid disorders, and immunodeficiency disorders and CO34 stem cell counts. The Medical and supervisory personnel have many years of flow cytometry experience.  The flow cytometer laboratory meets CAP, CDC and FDA requirements for immunophenotyping.

For more information about our coagulation services, please contact:
For clinical information:
Gail Bentley, MD
Medical Director of Flow cytometry

For Technical information:
Debra Gingrich, BS, MT (ASCP)
Flow cytometry laboratory supervisor
For client services information:
1-800-456-2154, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.