A New Lab Instrument Helps Fuse Cells for ‘Magic Bullet’ Cancer Treatment

By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – Once touted as the “magic bullets” of cancer care, monoclonal antibodies are now fulfilling that promise and more advances are on the way. This positive news comes from a report by Georgetown University cancer researchers published in the journal Cell. According to the researchers, refinements and modifications of monoclonal antibody drugs—several of which have already revolutionized the care of breast and colon cancer—are now being tested in most tumor types. These modifications allow antibody drugs to directly stimulate the body’s immune response to help fight tumors.

More than 10 monoclonal antibodies are currently approved for use in cancer care, most of which were approved for use within the last decade. A key method for producing large numbers of them involves fusing together two different types of cells.

“Ensuring the successful fusion of cells is a vital step in the creation of monoclonal antibodies, which continue to show their potential in cancer treatment,” says Jeff Duchemin, President and CEO of Harvard Bioscience, a global developer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of solutions to advance life science. “Cutting-edge instrumentation has made it easier than ever for laboratory workers to facilitate this process.”

BTX, a division of Harvard Bioscience, recently unveiled a device with key applications in the development of monoclonal antibodies: the ECM 2001+.

With this device, a combination of alternating-current and direct-current electric wave pulses are used to allow the rapid fusion of cells that is necessary to create monoclonal antibodies. Not only are the cells aligned properly and then fused together, but the device ensures that this process takes place efficiently and with the maximum number of desired hybrid cells.

Separately, in a process called transfection, the ECM 2001+ can be used to modify cells to produce certain types of human proteins that have various therapeutic uses. In this task, the device is again both efficient and versatile, and can act on a range of cell types including stem cells. The type of electric waves used by the device helps maximize the health and productivity of the resulting cells.

The ECM 2001+ is just one of the instruments developed by Holliston, MA-based Harvard Bioscience, which offers the highest-quality tools and equipment for university, government, clinical, and other research laboratories. Its product range is extensive, from molecular analysis instruments to electrophysiology tools. The company’s subsidiaries offer a complete line of instrumentation in multiple sectors including laboratory fluidics, molecular analysis, cell physiology and animal physiology.

“Quality instrumentation is a vital link in a chain that can potentially lead from the lab to an improved standard of care in the treatment of cancer and other life-altering diseases,” adds Duchemin.

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