Luminex has unveiled its new bead-based assay system, the FlexMAP 3D that can measure up to 500 analytes from a single sample and increase productivity in clinical and pharmaceutical laboratories.
The new system is based on Luminex's successful xMAP flow cytometry system but increases the number of uniquely-dyed microbead capture agents that can be used in a single assay from 100 to 500, enabling greater efficiency in DNA assays, enzyme assays, immunoassays and receptor-ligand binding assays.
"We designed FlexMAP 3D for clinical reference labs, pharmaceutical labs and academic core labs that are interested in enhanced workflow and higher multiplexing capabilities while maintaining the advantages of the xMAP bead-based technology," said Patrick Balthrop, CEO of Luminex.
"This system features the same flexibility of our other instruments and provides increased speed, multiplexing, sensitivity and automation."
In addition to the increased number of analytes the system will be able to simultaneously study, the system will also be compatible with liquid handling devices to streamline automation process and further increase efficiency.
Previous incarnations of the system have become an integral part of many assay programs and Luminex has worked with a range of partners to make a range of assays for use in drug discovery, research and clinical settings.
The system uses 5.6 micron polystyrene microbeads which contain a mixture of two fluorescent dyes that can allow the beads to be identified as one of a specific set.
The previous incarnation of the xMAP technology allowed 100 different sets of beads to be used in a single assay, but the new system has expanded this to 500.
Different capture agents such as antibodies, oligonucleotides, peptides or protein receptors can be attached to each of the beads.
These beads can be added all at once to an assay sample and the small size of the beads means that target capture is very fast. The beads are then sucked up a fluidic tube that causes the microspheres to line up in single file before they pass through the detection chamber that contains two lasers.
One of the laser beams classifies each bead into the appropriate bead set, while the other scans the beads for the presence of fluorescently labelled reporter molecules and quantifies the number of reporter molecules on each bead.
The system has found uses such as in PerkinElmer's gene expression kit and Tepnel Life Sciences Lifematch HLA/DNA typing and antibody detection system for patient serum screening and antibody identification.
More recently, Exiqon has teamed up with Luminex to use its 'locked nucleic acid' (LNA) technology to create microRNA (miRNA) expression assay that quantitatively measures the expression of miRNA sequences in the miRBase sequence database.
Conveniently, there are currently about 500 known human miRNA's and the new platform will no doubt allow the screening of all 500 in one quick and easy assay from total RNA samples.
"FlexmiR is an important innovation in microRNA research, featuring unmatched specificity and efficiency," said Lars Kongsbak, CEO of Exiqon.