Cell-based assays are big business. To put it another way, in industries such as pharmaceuticals, they are the business. According to a report from late 2015, the cell-based assays market is expected to grow 11.16 percent annually, worth $18.3 billion by 2020.
And while that’s reassuring for those whose life work is in cell culturing, the increasing value of cell-based assays isn’t news, both in business terms and for the people whose well-being depends on them. In a new article, we cover a discovery around disrupting the Warburg effect, which offers new possibilities for cancer treatment.
So, yes—you already know how much your assays are worth. You know how much time you invest in them. And you want to ensure they are as repeatable, predictable—successful. To that end, we’ve gathered a few resources to consider when protecting your investment in your work.
Achieve and maintain consistency
Consistency is key in cell-based assays. You want to see the same results with the same variables, and when an unanticipated change affects your work, it can add a week, two weeks—more?—to do additional replicates.
Here are two key ways to ensure your experiments are consistent:
Say goodbye to the edge effect. Are you already leaving the outer wells of your standard 96-well plates empty? If so, it’s probably because you’ve noticed the edge effect, in which a faster rate of evaporation is seen in the plate’s outer perimeter. This evaporation can have a significant effect on the results gleaned from those cultures, leading to a frustrating inconsistency across a single plate.
You can prevent edge effect by evaluating your lab’s workflow, covering your plates during incubation, and reconsidering the plates you use. The Thermo Scientific™ Nunc™ Edge plates, for example, are specially designed to minimize edge effect.
Read more about preventing edge effect in the Thermo Fisher Scientific blog post, Can You Eliminate the Threats of Edge Effect During Long-term Incubation?
In incubation, slow and steady wins the race: We’ve written about the harmful effect of temperature differentials in cold storage, but inconsistency in your incubators can devastate your cell cultures just as readily. Hot spots and cold spots can affect the rate of growth and muddy your results.
What’s a common cause of temperature differentials in incubation? The use of varying gasses to control temperature, pH, and oxygen levels. Because different gasses settle at different levels (nitrogen rising above oxygen, for example, when used to create a low-O2 environment for culturing in hypoxic conditions), the use of various gasses can lead to stratification of temperatures.
One solution: Ensure your incubators have circulating fans, which will help create a uniform environment around your plates. Find out more about why circulating fans are essential in your CO2 incubators.
The cell-based assay market will be growing into the foreseeable future, and your successful, consistent results will continue to be a part of it.