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Production of a Low Density Microfluidic Array to Screen Stem Cells for Pathogens

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Applied Biosystems, part of Life Technologies Corporation, has worked with the UK Stem Cell Bank (UKSCB) at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) a Health Protection Agency (HPA) centre, in Hertfordshire, England to help produce a new line of TaqMan® real-time PCR assays as a tool for screening stem cell lines for unwanted pathogens.

Pathogen testing forms part of the UKSCB’s quality control processes. This new set of TaqMan Assays for pathogen detection will provide means for testing pathogens in cell lines. By commercializing these assays Applied Biosystems introduces a set of tools that enables researchers to detect and quantify viral pathogens that may be present in biological samples.

The UKSCB’s role is ‘to provide quality controlled stocks of these cells that researchers worldwide can rely on to facilitate high quality and standardized research’.. As part of the safety testing regime for the lines each line is routinely tested for 6 mandatory viruses. This testing has been extended to include 9 additional viruses.

The UK Stem Cell Bank has worked with Applied Biosystems to validate the TaqMan Assays for pathogen detection, so that scientists can use the assays to screen stem cell lines for potential infection by a 15 different viruses.

The TaqMan Assays for pathogen detection enable scientists to screen cell lines for a panel of viruses that includes human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), as well as 12 other markers including those viruses screened for by blood services .These assays are presented on a single microfluidic card capable of screening 8 samples in a single run.

Through a real-time PCR reaction, the assays detect and quantify target nucleic acid sequences from specific viruses that may be present in biological samples. Primers and probes in the assays detect signature nucleic acid sequences present in pathogens, generating a fluorescent signal proportional to the amount of target sequence present.