Last week we reported on Celltray, a microscope slide that allowed for real-time cell imaging. The astute Gizmodo readership rightly pointed out that the technology was not the first on the block. However, we are sticking to our guns; the technology is the first practical solution to allow real-time cell imaging. Following up on our previous coverage, we present unreleased pictures of the device in action and a little more information on the companies direction.
At the very pinnacle of research live cell imaging is currently possible, yet there are significant drawbacks to these systems. The major flaws plaguing such endeavours presently involve: inadequate resolution, inefficient manipulation of a cellular system's environment and no means to conduct mass, side-by-side analyses. Nanopoint's technology is revolutionising the field, by integrating their hardware with a strong software suite. This enables complex procedures to be completed in a precise and time effective manner.
Cathy Owen, president of Nanopoint, indicated to Nano World Technology the impending possibilities:
"Thousands of drugs could be quickly tested on the almost unlimited supply of diseased cells that might be grown from stem cells. Such rapid screening could make useful drugs available years earlier than they might be otherwise. And this type of work can only be done at a very small scale, and while the stem cells are still alive."
Celltray is not only a furtherance in it's own right, it also allows for new ways to use nano based technologies already in use, e.g. Quantum Dots, Owen added:
"Quantum dots can be attached to proteins inside the cell membrane, and since they glow we are now able to see more than ever before, but there are other questions yet to be answered. Researchers need to be able to see the cellular system functioning. It's going to take time to get there at ultra-high resolutions, but this live-cell imaging technology is a natural next step."
Having had success with the original Celltray (CT-1000), Nanopoint are set to release the follow up product, (you guessed it), the CT-2000. The CT-2000 may sound like Terminator's archenemy, but it is in fact bringing a more comprehensive microfluidic system to cell imaging. With the step up, cell culturing and life-support become more effective—revisions made improve on lessons gained from the implementation of the CT-1000. The possibility for automated, instructed environment manipulation is one of the groundbreaking new features.
With prices starting at $10,000, the cost is sure to deter all but the best funded research centres. But one thing is certain: the conglomerates heading drug invention shall be set to make faster discoveries—though the cash may roll straight back to them, better drugs can only ever be a promising prospect. Combine this with the likelihood of prophylactic based research in the future and we are confident in saying we are watching Nanopoint with a keen, expectant eye.
Sadly, I haven't had the opportunity to make any jokes in this article, so here's one for you - your penis, which is so small it can only be viewed via Celltray. To see what those images would look like, check out the gallery. [Nanopoint]