Fluidigm Corporation announced that Dr. Toshio Suda of Keio University’s 21st Century Center of Excellence (COE) Program, Graduate School of Medicine, has selected the BioMark System for Genetic Analysis to assist their research of mouse hematopoietic single stem cells.

Keio University’s COE is using the unique microfluidic properties of the Fluidigm’s integrated fluidic circuits (IFCs) to analyze selected genes in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). The interaction of HSCs with their particular microenvironment, known as the stem cell niche, is critical for adult hematopoiesis in bone marrow. The COE plans to use both Fluidigm’s Dynamic Array and Digital Array IFCs in this effort.

Keio University’s COE Graduate School of Medicine Program brings together researchers and clinicians from stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, immunology, autoimmune disease and infectious disease areas to form a scientific community that conducts basic medical research, utilizing the elucidation of the pathology of intractable diseases and unique disease model systems to develop new methods of treatment.

“Dr. Suda’s work in modeling the differentiation of stem cells and purification methods for hematopoietic stem cells is remarkable. We hope Fluidigm’s technology and its ability to provide extreme sensitivity at the single-cell level can help him unlock new vistas of understanding as Dr. Suda explores hematopoietic stem cells and their niches,” said Gajus Worthington, president and chief executive officer of Fluidigm.

“Our research in hematopoietic stem cells and how they interact with their niches to maintain a balance between self-renewal and differentiation is key to ultimately establishing techniques for niche-based therapy. The Fluidigm BioMark technology enables us to easily study populations of HSCs on the single cell level allowing us to accurately characterize the cellular and molecular components of ‘Niche complex’,” said Dr. Suda.

The ability of Fluidigm’s microfluidic devices – called integrated fluidic circuits (IFCs) – to isolate and control individual molecules provides great insight into the development of biological events that influence stem cell differentiation. Analyzing the stochastic differences between individual cells typically requires studying large numbers of individual cells and genes. Fluidigm’s IFC volume requirements are so low that researchers have been able to study as many as 1,000 genes from an individual cell. The technology facilitates thousands of single cell experiments allowing the biological differences to manifest themselves.

Each stem cell needs to be treated as an individual because it’s not necessarily in the same state at every point in time. You have to look at them as individuals, noted Worthington.