Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New test for safer biomedical research results

03.08.2009
In cancer research, as in most other biomedical sciences, they are playing a key role: living cells, kept in sterile plastic containers with red culture media populating incubators in laboratories around the world.

But do researchers always know what is really living in their culture dishes? Under the microscope, different cell lines are almost impossible to distinguish from each other. When these important research objects stop growing without apparent reason – is it because of the manipulations by the scientists or because of an invisible viral or bacterial infection?

Contaminations with other cell lines or pathogenic agents are a common and well-known problem. Often they are the reason why cell experiments fail to produce useable or reproducible results. Even worse, laboratory staff can get infected with dangerous pathogens from a cell culture.

To make those important cell culture experiments safer, DKFZ researchers Dr. Markus Schmitt and Dr. Michael Pawlita have developed a test which is able to identify 37 different cell contaminations in a single run. The researchers have tested the system in over 700 samples from different research labs and have now published their results.

The method called "Multiplex cell Contamination Test" (McCT) detects not only wide-spread viruses but also a number of mycoplasmas, which are considered the major contaminators of cell cultures. In addition, the test checks the cells for their origin. Thus, if dog genetic material is found in what are supposed to be monkey cells, then a contamination of the cell culture is obvious. The test also includes detection of commonly used standard cell lines. Contamination with the fast-growing cancer cell line HeLa, for example, is a dreaded source of false results.

Pawlita and Schmitt found contaminations in a high percentage of cell samples. Twenty-two percent of tested cultures were contaminated with one of the various types of the parasitic bacterium called mycoplasma. "What we noticed about the results," says Markus Schmitt, "was that contaminations were frequent in some laboratories, while others sent in cultures that were constantly clean. Thus, care in laboratory work seems to play an important role."

The test is highly specific and needs no more than ten copies of foreign DNA in the cell sample to be positive. This is a sensitivity which is comparable to or even higher than those of previously available commercial mycoplasma tests. McCT results are reproducible to 99.6 percent. The method is based on multiplication of specific DNA sequences by polymerase chain reaction and subsequent detection of the multiplied DNA regions. A special advantage of the new test is that it can be carried out on a high-throughput basis. The DKFZ researchers can manage up to 1,000 tests per week.

Schmitt und Pawlita offer the service to external scientists and research institutes via the Steinbeis Transfer Center "Multiplexion", a DKFZ spin-off. If you are interested, please visit www.multiplexion.com for more information about the conditions.

Markus Schmitt und Michael Pawlita: High-throughput detection and multiplex identification of cell contaminations. Nucleic Acids Research 2009, DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkp581

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is the largest biomedical research institute in Germany and is a member of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers. More than 2,000 staff members, including 850 scientists, are investigating the mechanisms of cancer and are working to identify cancer risk factors. They provide the foundations for developing novel approaches in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. In addition, the staff of the Cancer Information Service (KID) offers information about the widespread disease of cancer for patients, their families, and the general public. The Center is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (90%) and the State of Baden-Württemberg (10%).

Dr. Sibylle Kohlstädt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.dkfz.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

nachricht The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>