Leading Cancer Research Lab Announced as Winner in Beckman Coulter’s $200,000 CytoFLEX Flow Cytometer Contest

Indianapolis (December 14, 2015) – A leading European gene therapy research team has won a $200,000 CytoFLEX Flow Cytometer from Beckman Coulter Life Sciences. The contest was designed to explore innovative research solutions involving flow cytometry.

The winning team, headed up by Dr Martin Pulé, is from the internationally renowned UCL Cancer Institute at University College London, UK. Their submission focused on capitalizing on the power of multi-parameter flow cytometry to expand understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cancer at the single cell level.

The CytoFLEX Flow Cytometer measures up to 15 parameters with 13 colors for fluorescence detection, enabling it to detect and discriminate minute subpopulations. It is also available with a plate loader to facilitate the high throughput processing of samples. The instrument will be used at UCL to develop a novel screening strategy to help further solid tumor chimeric antigen receptor T-cell cancer immunotherapy.

The application was submitted on behalf of Dr Pulé’s team by Dr Brian Philip who is working on engineering marker-suicide genes. As he explained: “The objective is to combine gene marking with flow cytometry. Our challenge has always been to improve the identification of more effective tumour targets through enhanced understanding of the molecular basis of tumour engraftment and dissemination.

"We propose to develop and test a novel marker-gene based platform for single cell tracking using multi-parameter flow cytometry. Randomised expression of multiple marker genes on the cell surface enable an extensive library of samples to be screened, which is enhanced by the number of parameters available on the analyzer."

Mario Koksch, vice president and general manager of the Cytometry Business Unit for Beckman Coulter Life Sciences said: “We are pleased to be able to support research into this promising area of inquiry. Advances in T cell cancer immunotherapy embody our mission, advancing science through discovery.”

Chairperson of the selection committee, Sharlene Wright, Marketing Director Flow Cytometry Instruments & Software from Beckman Coulter Flow Cytometry said: “We were impressed by the breadth and scope of the research presented as part of the competition applications. The winning application stood out because of the way it encapsulated the importance of multi-colour flow cytometry in modern day cancer research.”

UCL is one of Europe's largest and most productive centres of biomedical research. It was the top-rated university in the UK for research strength in the most recent Research Excellence Framework. Its scientists have an international reputation for leading basic, translational and clinical cancer research and the UCL Cancer Institute is uniquely positioned to leverage the multidisciplinary nature of UCL by engaging a range of disciplines to transform cancer research.