Kinetic River receives new Phase I SBIR grant for flow cytometry technology

The technology translates proven fluorescence lifetime methods from microscopy to the high-speed realm of flow cytometry.

Aug 13th, 2018
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Flow cytometry instrumentation maker Kinetic River (Mountain View, CA) has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The competitive Phase I grant was awarded to the company by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), which fosters research focused on development of innovative biomedical diagnostic and therapeutic platforms.

Related: Reaching flow cytometry milestone, Kinetic River completes Phase I SBIR grant

The SBIR grant is helping to fund the development of Kinetic River's Tiber cell analysis technology, which is aimed at distinguishing cancer cells from normal cells without any expensive fluorescent markers. The Tiber system leverages the company's fluorescence lifetime technology, for which two U.S. patents have already been awarded, with more U.S. and international patents pending. By measuring the intrinsic signatures of biomolecules involved in cellular metabolism (such as cofactors NADH and FAD), the system aims to eliminate the need for expensive antibody-conjugated fluorescent markers for detection and identification of cancer cells. This approach translates proven, but slow, fluorescence lifetime methods from microscopy to the high-speed realm of flow cytometry.

The Tiber technology is based on a pulsed UV laser for label-free excitation of biomolecules. The laser beam, which invisible to both the eye and most cameras, shows up in this image as deep blue due to Raman scattering from water molecules in the flow channel of the Tiber instrument. The instrument sensitivity is such that this normally undetectable signal has to be specially filtered out. (Copyright: 2018 Kinetic River Corp.)

A successful demonstration of feasibility will enable further development of the Tiber technology into a standalone analyzer for the laboratory. Applications of this label-free cell discrimination capability range from cancer diagnostics and cancer treatment monitoring to tumor heterogeneity studies and drug development. Because it will not use expensive reagents, the Tiber analyzer is expected to drastically reduce operational costs.

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