Single Cell ICP-MS for Cancer Research

Metal-based chemotherapies such as Cisplatin are the most widely used class of drugs for the treatment of various cancers. Initially patients respond well to these drugs but often later relapse as the cancer displays resistance to the therapy. Metal-based chemotherapy works by forming crosslinks in DNA creating blockages which results in the cancer cells inability to replicate. Cellular uptake of metal-based drugs is related to tumor burden and consequently low intracellular levels of the drug are proportional to a decrease in tumor response.

Until now there has been little or no data about the distribution of the drug within individual tumor cells as traditional techniques can only measure the average concentration across the whole cell population. It’s clear that cells in the same population do not behave in the same way and the need to understand individual cell behavior is a trend across life science research in general. As a result, there is a growing need to analyze cellular uptake and distribution of metal-based or nanoparticle delivery of chemotherapy at the single cell level to determine if treatment is effective.

The innovative NexION® Single Cell ICP-MS system includes nebulizer technology allowing introduction of cells, one by one, as well as new software to calculate metal concentrations per cell. These will enable you to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms of how resistance develops in metal-based chemotherapies. With the NexION system you can rapidly detect and quantify metal concentrations in individual cancer cells to yield critical data about metal distribution in the cell population. This information may not only help you better understand chemotherapy resistance but can also lead to potential new therapies for cancer including in combination with other treatments such as immunotherapy.

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