While the term flow cytometry refers to the measurement of cells, the approach of making sensitive multiparameter optical measurements in a flowing sample stream is a very general analytical approach. The past few years have seen an explosion in the application of flow cytometry technology for molecular analysis and measurements using microparticles as solid supports. While microsphere-based molecular analyses using flow cytometry date back three decades, the need for highly parallel quantitative molecular measurements that has arisen from various genomic and proteomic advances has driven the development in particle encoding technology to enable highly multiplexed assays. Multiplexed particle-based immunoassays are now common place, and new assays to study genes, protein function, and molecular assembly. Numerous efforts are underway to extend the multiplexing capabilities of microparticle-based assays through new approaches to particle encoding and analyte reporting. The impact of these developments will be seen in the basic research and clinical laboratories, as well as in drug development.
Copyright (c) 2006 International Society for Analytical Cytology.