Equipment and Technologies

Pelotonia equipment purchases 2016-12

Instruments and equipment purchased with Pelotonia funds benefit the more than 330 cancer investigators at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).


Helios mass cytometer. The Helios mass cytometer identifies cells by labeling them with heavy metals that are never otherwise present in cells. The technology enables researchers to identify a small number of specific cells mixed in among many other cells.

The heavy metals are attached to antibodies, and the antibodies are designed to attach only to specific proteins found on the surface of the cells being studied. The instrument vaporizes the cells into clouds of ionized atoms and separates the metal ions by molecular weight.

Researchers can use the technique to measure 30 to 50 different molecules, or markers, on cells. In one example, OSUCCC – James researchers used it to study why some people with a subtype of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) called core-binding factor AML are cured with chemotherapy, while people with an AML subtype that features a mutation called FLT3 ITD are not.

They found that in patients with the FLT3 ITD mutation, only about 0.5 percent of leukemia progenitor cells are dividing at any one time. The slow growth of those cells made the disease much less sensitive to chemotherapy.


Orbitrap Fusion™ and Quantiva mass spectrometer. Mass spectrometry is a technique that enables researchers to identify compounds that are present in cells, blood and other biological samples. Mass spectrometers are used in cancer research to better understand cancer-cell biology. The instruments are needed, for example, to identify the quantity and characteristics of proteins in tumor and normal tissues.

These mass spectrometers were purchased for the Proteomics Shared Resource, which provides this critical technology and expertise to OSUCCC – James researchers who what to identify specific proteins in cells and at what levels they occur. The instruments permit the study of cancer-related proteins at the atomic level, to identify compounds in cells faster and more accurately, to examine how cancer-related proteins bind to drugs and potential drugs, and how metabolic profiles change in cancer during disease and treatment.


The Sciclone NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) Workstation fits on the laboratory bench and robotically prepares batches of cancer samples for high-throughput genome sequencing. Genome sequencing reveals the gene mutations and other structural changes in DNA and RNA, and that information helps researchers learn how healthy cells become cancer cells.

This device helps convert long lengths of DNA extracted from cancer cells into short pieces that are readable by the sequencers. The resulting collection of DNA fragments is called a sequencing library. Producing high-quality sequencing libraries is a tedious process that involves more than a dozen steps, each of which must be done with precision.

Enter the robotic device. The instrument uses a magnet to pull DNA-laden metal beads to the exterior rim, then its multiple pipette tips draw off the liquid phase and replace appropriate solutions needed for subsequent steps. The robotic system can prepare eight to 96 samples at a time while insuring consistency, freeing lab personnel for other tasks.

Diagenode IPStar Compact Automated System is a robotic device that, together with NGS whole-genome sequencing, identifies epigenetic changes in the genome and identifies sites where proteins bind to genes. Epigenetic changes refers to changes that happen to DNA in cells that are not gene mutations but that contribute to cancer development. Genome sequencing can detect such epigenetic changes in tumor and tissue samples when the samples are prepared a certain way. The instrument can process up to 96 samples at one time.

REES Enterprise Environmental Monitoring System ensures that tumor tissue and other samples are safely stored and experimental conditions properly maintained during storage. The system monitors critical parameters such as temperature, humidity, oxygen and carbon dioxide, and it warns when critical equipment such as freezers, refrigerators, incubators, liquid-nitrogen tanks and cold rooms are at risk.


Upgrade of the the HiSeq 2000 purchased in 2012 to an improved system called the HiSeq 2500, which provides faster, more efficient sequencing than the HiSeq 2000.

The HiSeq 2500 can operate in regular or in fast mode. In regular mode, the technology can sequence five to six human genomes in about 11 days at 30-fold coverage (a measure of sequencing depth to increase confidence in identifying  base alterations). In fast mode, the machine can sequence one human genome in 27 hours at that coverage.


Hi-Seq 2000 Sequencing System – This purchase upgraded the OSUCCC – James sequencing capability to a second-generation platform called the HiSeq 2000. The instrument reduced the cost of sequencing for researchers, while also increasing data output quantity and quality, and offering greater scheduling flexibility.

The SOLiD™ System – The purchase of two SOLiD 5500xl high-throughput analyzers, a second sequencing platform, again significantly upgraded Ohio State’s next-generation gene-sequencing capability. (The older SOLiD 4 instrument was retained for transition projects and to help manage overflow.)

Special BD FacsAria analytical cytometer – Flow cytometry is a technology that sorts and counts cells according to certain parameters, such the color of fluorescent dyes that were used to stain them for specific proteins. It is fundamental to cancer research. This flow cytometer was the most sophisticated of four in use by OSUCCC – James scientists. The instrument uses four lasers, rather than two or three, and multiple detectors for high-speed sorting and advanced analysis of up to 13 cellular parameters.

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