Life Technologies Corporation announces it has begun commercial shipments of the QuantStudio™ 3D Digital PCR System, the first chip-based instrument designed for this rapidly growing segment of the genetic analysis market. Featuring the simplest workflow and smallest footprint available on the market, the benchtop platform is designed for experiments requiring absolute quantification of targeted DNA molecules and disruptively priced at $39,000 to enable broad accessibility to all laboratories.
Scientists worldwide commonly use real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) to amplify and quantify nucleic acids. A variation of that powerful technology, digital PCR goes beyond the limits of real-time PCR and provides absolute quantification of DNA samples, making the application ideally suited for accurately detecting rare genetic mutations important in cancer or infectious diseases.
"Good research depends on three things: researchers' techniques, appropriate funding and sample quality. Compared to in-situ hybridization methods, digital PCR has a direct impact on these components," said Bruno Ping, senior biomedical scientist, Royal Surrey County Hospital in the U.K. "The great advantage of the QuantStudio 3D is that it makes copy number variation research, for example, more readily available and cost effective as you are able to probe a higher number of samples at lower price points. The data achieved in my lab correlate well with our previous results."
The QuantStudio™ 3D Digital PCR System is designed to be affordable and easy to use for a wide variety of laboratory settings. The simple workflow, combined with the system's chip-based approach, reduces the number of required hands-on steps to begin experiments — reducing the risk of sample contamination and loss of DNA normally associated with droplet-based systems on the market. Once a sample has been loaded onto the chip, the system takes less than one minute to return initial data.
At the heart of the instrument is the high-density, nanofluidic silicon chip that enables up to 20,000 data points, coverage that satisfies the needs for most digital PCR applications today. The platform also takes up minimal footprint on the bench, measuring about 5 inches wide, 8.5 inches long and 8 inches tall.
The new platform is the latest addition to a growing line of QuantStudio™ digital qPCR instruments from Life Technologies. It complements the QuantStudio™ 12K Flex Real-Time PCR System, which the company launched in 2012. Once considered a niche market, digital PCR is expected to grow to nearly $250 million globally by 2016, according to reports from Frost & Sullivan and DeciBio. Previously, the market was limited by the high cost and cumbersome workflow associated with prior digital platforms.
"Effective today, we have democratized digital PCR by introducing a novel instrument and system that simplifies the workflow and enables accessibility by labs of all sizes around the world," says Chris Linthwaite, Head of Genetic Analysis, Life Technologies. "The QuantStudio 3D Digital PCR System reflects our singular focus to develop revolutionary platforms that enable diverse scientific communities to answer questions across a wide range of industries and applications."
Life Technologies will host two customer presentations June 10 during the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) conference: Bruno Ping will discuss the results of his research on Her-2 amplification in breast cancer FFPE samples using the QuantStudio™ 3D Digital PCR System; and Dr. Erik Springer will discuss his work on detection of BRAF-V600E mutation by comparing data from ARMS-PCR and digital PCR.