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Japan : Toshiba Develops Fluorescence Imaging System that Can Observe Cell Cultures Inside an Incubator.

Toshiba has developed a system that performs fluorescence imaging of cell clusters during culturing in an incubator without using an objective lens. The prototype can distinguish individual cells in clusters, and is the first in the world to achieve a spatial resolution below 10 micrometers(?m), three times finer than that of a previously proposed similar technology.

Advances in cellular biology, exemplified by the discovery of induced pluripotent cells, have reinforced the importance of cell observation during culturing in the fields of pharmaceuticals and regenerative medicine. Fluorescence microscopes with an objective lens have been used for this kind of observation, but it is difficult to reduce the size of their optical components--lenses and filters--and they are not suited for use in regular incubators. A further problem is that delivery of cell samples from an incubator to a fluorescence microscope for observation raises the risk of contamination by impurities. These concerns have triggered demand for the development of a technology capable of easier in-place fluorescence imaging of cell clusters.

Toshiba has developed a fluorescent imaging system able to observe cells cultured directly on a CMOS image sensor(Note 5) and obtain images that distinguish a single cells in the cluster without an objective lens. Key to this was development of a custom filter able to block illuminated light in defined wavelength, which is deposited directly on the CMOS image sensor.

Similar previously proposed technologies have required a computer to process and enhance image resolution in order to distinguish typical cell sizes of around 10?m. Toshiba's system achieves both good filter performance and high spatial resolution, which are usually trade-off against one another, by optimizing filter design. This has improved spatial resolution to the world finest level of less than 10?m, a third of previous values. The company has also successfully used the fluorescence imaging system inside an incubator to capture fluorescence images of cell clusters in which the nuclei of the target cells were stained.

Since the prototype can capture and send fluorescence images on demand by culturing cells on the sensor module, it has made anytime, remote observation of the state of the cells in the incubator much easier. Furthermore, as the system is small, it offers excellent portability and can even be used outdoors.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Jun 19, 2017
Words:390
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