PHI Introduces Non-invasive Fluorescence

Phase Holographic Imaging (PHI) is currently preparing fluorescence units for its first users. The HoloMonitor add-on fluorescence unit enables medical research laboratories to analyze the all-important genetic activity of individual cells as they multiply in a cell incubator without the detrimental effects associated with conventional fluorescence microscopy.

Living cell cultures are extensively used and analyzed in over 100 000 commercial and academic research laboratories worldwide, creating a market of up to 5 billion USD for incubator-based live-cell imaging. Most of the laboratories use some form of fluorescence today.

The future is here — non-invasive fluorescence

“We want to push the boundaries of non-invasive live-cell imaging to provide our customers with the most advanced non-invasive cell analysis tool”, emphasizes PHI’s Product Manager Dr. Lisa Lindström.

“In cell biology research, it is important to study when cells transform to a different cell type, for instance, when a normal cell becomes a cancer cell. Such studies are done by observing the genetic activity of cells over time and many cell generations. By combining cell-friendly holography with fluorescence, HoloMonitor enables researchers to do exactly that but without harming the cells. It should be added that when an observation method is invasive, there is a significant risk that the cells react to the method instead of the intended stimuli.”

HoloMonitor fluorescence unit
The HoloMonitor fluorescence unit.

Until today, researchers had no choice but to harm their valuable cells each time they were imaged. However, most of the fluorescence images during an experiment are taken to track cell movement, not to observe the much slower genetic changes.

The combination of imaging techniques allows HoloMonitor to track cell movement using frequent but harmless holographic imaging rather than harmful fluorescence imaging. This unique ability leads to a dramatic reduction of the number of required fluorescence images, allowing HoloMonitor users to minimize or eliminate the undesired toxic effects when characterizing individual cells and their genetic activity. The result is more cost-effective and reliable research outcomes.

“The PHI team continues to do a fantastic job of providing our customers and their incubators with cell-friendly fluorescence. For an initial first glimpse of this innovative technology, see this video”, commented PHI’s CEO Peter Egelberg.