Lasers to personalise therapy
EuroBiotech_How can recent development in lasers for flow cytometry of blood contribute to personalised therapy of immune diseases?
Schulze_Personalised therapy for immune and other diseases requires detailed clinical testing, followed by targeted treatment based on the analysis of those test results. And then, of course, more clinical testing is required to monitor the outcome. Multiparameter flow cytometry is a key diagnostic testing tool in this process. Multiparameter flow cytometry entails using several different laser wavelengths to rapidly interrogate blood samples treated with multiple fluorescent antigen labels as they pass single-file in a flow stream. This allows blood cell types to be automatically counted according to multiple different parameters. For example, different sub-classes of immune cell types such as CD4 can be separately counted in a single instrument run.
EuroBiotech_Which developments of Coherent show clear differentiation potential compared to commercially available laser sources, especially with regard to bandwidth and multiparameter analysis?
Schulze_Coherent supports improved capabilities in multiparameter cytometry in two ways. First, we continue to expand the number of wavelengths in our OBIS line of plug & play lasers for cytometry. This includes new ultraviolet wavelengths to increase the spectral bandwidth of the instruments, as well as new visible wavelengths to fill remaining spectral gaps and to better match new fluorochromes.
Just as important, Coherent supports this important application with laser engines in addition to standalone lasers. This started with a fiber-based product called Galaxy that allows any user to easily combine up to eight laser wavelengths into a single fiber. We then developed a product specifically for cytometry OEMs called CellX that is based on free-space optics. This provides builders with a user-adjustable module producing multiple customised output beams with independent focusing and shaping.
EuroBiotech_In which developments do these current developments already show benefits for clinical researchers today and how does Coherent intend to further expand this in the future or where are there still technological hurdles?
Schulze_Looking to the future you can expect to see even more customisation in these laser engines where the optomechanics are more permanently aligned with all the key adjustments performed at the factory. This enables us to deliver certified beam performance at the focus, i.e., where the laser beams interact with the flow stream, rather than the beam as it leaves the laser. The main benefits for instrument OEMs are streamlined design cycles with reduced time to market, and improved field performance for their instruments, with significant reduction in the need for field service for simple issues like optical alignment. And for the patient, this should lead ultimately to better clinical tests at lower overall costs.
We are looking forward to discussing the high-tech laser developments with you at our booth at LASER show in Munich!
Many thanks to Dr Matthias Schulze and Petra Wallenta for making this interview happen.
Matthias Schulze is Director Marketing OEM Components & Instrumentation for Coherent Inc. He joined Coherent in 1995 as a sales engineer in Germany and subsequently was holding various positions in marketing. First at Coherent in Lübeck and later in companywide responsibilities. He holds a PhD in physics from the Technical University Berlin, Germany.
This interview was originally published in European Biotechnology Magazine Spring Edition 2022.