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 Water world
20.11.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

nachricht Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity
20.11.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

SYSTEMS INTEGRATION 2018 in Switzerland focuses on building blocks for industrial digitalization

20.11.2017 | Trade Fair News

Heavy nitrogen molecules reveal planetary-scale tug-of-war

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>