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Sony Sorts Cells with Blu-ray Technology

Sony announced that its new Cell Sorter SH800 employs Blu-ray Disc (BD) technology to optically analyze cells for a variety of medical applications.

For more information visit: www.sony.com


Unedited press release follows:

Sony to launch ‘Cell Sorter,’ an instrument for cell analysis which utilizes Blu-ray Disc technology

- Applications include immunology, cancer, regenerative medicine, and stem cell research -

Tokyo, Japan, June11, 2012 – Sony today announced that it will begin taking orders for Cell Sorter SH800 starting this fall. Cell Sorter SH800 is the first ‘flow cytometer’ cell analysis instrument developed by Sony for the optical analysis of cells. This product successfully automates optical alignment and sorting set-up by utilizing Sony’s technologies cultivated in laser optics, such as Blu-ray Disc, and optical discs. In addition, by incorporating a newly developed plastic cell sorting chip, it offers dramatically greater efficiency with measurement tasks.

Model name    Release Date    Price
Cell Sorter SH800     Orders taken starting this fall     Approx. JPY 20 million (depending on laser model)

‘Flow cytometry’
‘Flow cytometry’ is a method that applies optical measurement to analyze and sort various kinds of cells based on their size, number, exterior surface, and interior content (such as their structure, functions and biomarkers). Flow cytometers play an important role as analytical instruments in the fields of hematology, immunology and oncology, as well as in cutting edge research for regenerative medicine and stem cells, such as iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells and ES (embryonic stem) cells. Flow cytometers are expected to further proliferate as research in these and other clinical areas continues to expand.

Flow cytometers emit laser beams while passing cells through a fine microchannel at high speeds. It then identifies the type and size of various kinds of cells by detecting the weak scattered light and fluorescence that is generated when the cell is illuminated by the laser. This closely resembles the detection principles of optical discs such as Blu-ray Discs, which use laser optics to read the fine irregularities on an optical disc rotating at high speed.

Sony acquired US-based iCyt Mission Technology, Inc. (‘iCyt’) in 2010 and entered the Flow Cytometry business, with the aim to apply its vast audio-visual technologies in the highly anticipated medical and bio fields. Cell Sorter SH800 is the first commercialized product resulting from the combination Sony’s Blu-ray Disc technology and iCyt’s cell-sorting technology.

Cell Sorter SH800
SH800 features fully-automated adjustment of the laser beam optical axis and the electrical timing for sorting, thus eliminating the need for a specialist operator to perform complicated setup procedures and adjustments. This quick and simple setup enables researchers to dramatically improve their workflow efficiency.

Unlike regular cell sorters that use expensive fixed quartz components, which must be cleaned after each use, SH800 employs a newly-developed plastic cell-sorting chip in the measuring channel (flow cell), which is based on Sony’s microfabrication techniques cultivated in optical discs. This product also enables the user to select the appropriate chip from different orifice sizes in accordance with the type and size of the cell being measured. In addition, these chips can be easily exchanged and set into the instrument.

SH800 is compact at just one-third the size (55cm width/55cm depth/72cm height) of regular cell sorters manufactured by other companies as it incorporates integrated laser technology and a compact mechanism design. Furthermore, it is relatively more affordable than existing flow cytometers because it satisfies the basic cell sorting functions with a maximum of just four lasers and six color fluorescence detection. Sony recommends this new user-friendly “personal cell sorter” to a wide range of customers in a variety of fields, including individual laboratories that formerly resisted installing flow cytometers due to sheer expense or requirements for specialist operators.

Sony aims to achieve mid- to long-term growth in its medical business, and will strive to expand and strengthen its range of flow cytometers to deliver high-quality, innovative products.

SH800 is scheduled to be exhibited at ISSCR (the International Society for Stem Cell Research) to be held at Pacifico Yokohama from June 13 to 16, and at ISAC (the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry) in Leipzig, Germany, from June 23 to 27.

Main features of Cell Sorter SH800

1. Fully-automated detection and sorting features for cell information
SH800 features fully-automated adjustment of the laser beam optical axis and the electrical timing for sorting, thus eliminating the need for complicated setup procedures and adjustments. Setup is easily accomplished without a specialist operator, thus enabling researchers to dramatically improve their workflow efficiency.

2. Incorporates newly-developed plastic cell sorting chip

Conventional cell sorters use fixed quartz components in the measuring channel (flow cell). These quartz components are expensive and require exchange and storage of the each orifice (holes that control the fluid flow passed through the channel). Furthermore, the quartz requires cleaning with each use.
Sony’s instrument uses a newly developed plastic cell sorting chip that applies Sony’s optical disc-based microfabrication techniques. The instrument offers multiple kinds of chips to accommodate the different orifice size, thus enabling the user to conveniently select the appropriate chip for the type and size of cell being measured. In addition, the chips can easily be exchanged and fitted in the instrument.

3. Compact size for desktop use

Sony’s cell sorter is compact at just one-third the size (55cm width/55cm depth/72cm height)of regular cell sorters manufactured by other companies as it incorporates integrated laser technology and a compact mechanism design.
4. Affordable price for all laboratories

SH800 is equipped with the basic functionality required for cell sorting: 4 lasers and 6-color fluorescence detection. This has enabled Sony to curb costs, making SH800 much more affordable than conventional flow cytometers.
5. Other technical features

①Equipped with a laser light source with four wavelengths (405nm, 488nm, 561nm, 638nm) to handle various fluorophores.
②Detection of forward and back-scattered light, as well as up to 6 colors fluorescence.
③Also equipped with software incorporating a user interface that is easy for anyone to operate, eliminating the need for a specialist operator.

Main specifications of Cell Sorter SH800

Optical system     Laser specifications
Wavelength     405 nm, 488 nm, 561 nm, 638 nm
Optical detection system
Number of channels     1 x forward scattered light (FSC), 1 x back-scattered light (BSC), 6 x fluorescence detectors
Sorting chip     Dimensions     2.5 cm x 7.5 cm x 0.2 cm
Weight     9.9 g
Nozzle size     100 um (other sizes will be released sequentially)
Main body/PC     Dimensions     55.0 cm x 55.0 cm x 72.0 cm
Weight     98 kg
Liquid crystal panel     7-inch color liquid crystal 800 x 480 pixels
Power supply     100 V 50/60 Hz, 120 V 60 Hz
Power consumed     500 W (max.)
Operating temperature     17.5 to 27.5℃
Humidity     20% to 80% (do not allow condensation to form)
Data format     Flow Cytometry Standard (FCS) 3.0 or 3.1
PC     Personal computer VAIO ‘L series’ Windows®7

*This product is for research purposes only. It cannot be used for diagnoses or treatment.

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