Greenwood Village, CO. Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers (RMCC) has expanded its in-house laboratory capabilities to include flow cytometry testing as part of its comprehensive service offering for patients.
“Laboratory testing is a key component of detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancers and blood disorders,” says Dr. Robert Rifkin, medical director of laboratory services for RMCC. “Adding flow cytometry to our in-house capabilities will help ensure our doctors are able to evaluate and prescribe treatment for our patients with blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma as quickly as possible.”
Flow cytometry utilizes a specialized fluid system and lasers to analyze cell properties. Cells are “flowed”, one cell at a time, using hydrodynamic focusing at a very high speed about 10,000 cells in 20 seconds or 500 cells per second. As they “flow” they pass by bright laser beams exciting dyes and reflecting light waves. The way the light is dispersed, called scatter, provides information about the physical structure of each cell. Forward scatter determines the size of the cells, and side scatter determines the complexity or granularity of the cells. Antibody dyes provide information about the cell’s chemical makeup by identifying fluorescent markers specific to white blood cell maturation. Each type of cell in the immune system has a unique combination of scatter measurements and cell surface markers, and when plotted on a graph called a histogram, a pathologist can use the data to not only diagnosis if a blood cancer is present but track the effectiveness of the subsequent treatment. Flow cytometry also has applications in clinical research.
The centrally located lab dedicated to this state-of-the-art, laser-based testing will service all of Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers’ 18 locations across the state.