The growing demand for biomarker screening experiments has created a greater need for instruments that enable high-throughput capabilities coupled with high accuracy and low-cost per reaction. This approach has particularly come to fore in pharmacogenomics, where the need for data points reaches into the tens of thousands.
Microarray technology has traditionally been the approach researchers have taken to achieve the high-throughput capability, but they’ve had to sacrifice the quality of their data and speed to results in the process. This technology relies on hybridization probes, resulting in a narrow dynamic range where there is a linear relationship. As an example, the dynamic range measured using microarrays is typically greater than or equal to 3 logs.
The OpenArray system can take these users from the whole genome/transciptome “fishing” experiments they do with microarrays to more targeted, yet high powered, hypothesis based experiments for genes of interest on the Quant Studio OpenArray system. Compared to microarrays, real-time qPCR provides high-quality data with better performance at a more cost effective price point.
For years, researchers have also had to rely on multiple instruments in the course of their work, typically performing screening studies on one system then switching to one or more instruments for validation work. The multi-system approach not only results in additional cost, but it also takes up limited space in the lab.
The QuantStudio 12K Flex, a real-time PCR system from Life Technologies, is a genetic analysis instrument that enables cost-effective and efficient interrogation of hundreds of target genes over thousands of samples in a single run. Designed for maximum flexibility and minimal footprint in the lab, the system eliminates the need for multiple qPCR platforms by accommodating any one of five different interchangeable blocks (OpenArray plates, TaqMan Array Card, 384-, 96 fast-, and 96-well plates) to match the size and type of experiment.
By changing the block configuration, researchers can perform high-throughput screening and generate more than 12,000 high-quality TaqMan data points in a single run on the OpenArray plates, before proceeding to validation work on a 384-well plate. Users can also run digital PCR experiments on the instrument using nanofluidic consumables and dedicated analysis software for increased sensitivity and specificity.
Applications such as pharmacogenomic testing, for example, are also enabled at a more cost-efficient price point because of the nanoliter volumes required to conduct experiments—saving both reagent costs and precious samples. Hands-on time to prepare the plates before each experiment is reduced using a new workflow enabled on the fully automated OpenArray AccuFill System, which eliminates manual OpenArray plate handling and labor-intensive pipetting.