Flow Cytometry: Impact on Early Drug Discovery.
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Modern flow cytometers can make optical measurements of 10 or more parameters per cell at tens of thousands of cells per second and more than five orders of magnitude dynamic range. Although flow cytometry is used in most drug discovery stages, "sip-and-spit" sampling technology has restricted it to low-sample-throughput applications. The advent of HyperCyt sampling technology has recently made possible primary screening applications in which tens of thousands of compounds are analyzed per day. Target-multiplexing methodologies in combination with extended multiparameter analyses enable profiling of lead candidates early in the discovery process, when the greatest numbers of candidates are available for evaluation. The ability to sample small volumes with negligible waste reduces reagent costs, compound usage, and consumption of cells. Improved compound library formatting strategies can further extend primary screening opportunities when samples are scarce. Dozens of targets have been screened in 384- and 1536-well assay formats, predominantly in academic screening lab settings. In concert with commercial platform evolution and trending drug discovery strategies, HyperCyt-based systems are now finding their way into mainstream screening labs. Recent advances in flow-based imaging, mass spectrometry, and parallel sample processing promise dramatically expanded single-cell profiling capabilities to bolster systems-level approaches to drug discovery.© 2015 Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening.