Live Cell Assays, LLC ("LCA") is a privately-held biotechnology company in the East San Francisco Bay Area (Pleasant Hill, California). LCA is a small start-up company seeking qualified investors, business partners and contract research customers. LCA offers an automation method for next-generation experimentation and discovery. Our automation method ("Visual-Servoing Optical Microscopy" or "VSOM") is implemented on imaging instruments capable of acquiring and analyzing subcellular (microscopic) resolution digital images of individual living cells. LCA offers custom designed software (VSOM® Application Software) for vision-based automated decision-making during live cell imaging assays, experiments, and processes. We refer to the automation mode implemented by VSOM® Application Software as VSOM® Automation Mode. VSOM® Application Software is customized for each new software customer and each new contract research project.
Our current VSOM® System (see Home page, "Our VSOM® System"") is controlled by VSOM® Application Software. LCA offers contract research services that utilize this VSOM® System. LCA offers custom VSOM® Application Software development services and live cell assay development services. LCA also offers other contract research services that utilize our VSOM® System, VSOM® Application Software and VSOM® Automation Mode.
Digital image analysis of the individual cell "objects" detected in digital images acquired with automated (robotic) imaging systems is referred to as High-Content Analysis ("HCA"). Today, many automated (robotic) HCA and High-Content Screening ("HCS") imaging systems are commercially available in a wide variety of configurations. Robotic HCA imaging systems and software are becoming increasingly sophisticated, customizable, affordable and easy to use. Today’s HCA and HCS imaging instruments are capable of making real-time, vision-based automated assay, experiment, and process control decisions during live cell imaging experiments. Thus, today's HCA and HCS imaging systems are capable of VSOM® Automation Mode.
In VSOM® Automation Mode, the robotic arms and other automated peripherals (including automated fluidics peripherals) of HCA and HCS systems are actuated on the basis of real-time live cell response analysis. Our goal is to bring vision-based robotic process control (i.e., VSOM® Automation Mode) to the HCA and HCS imaging industry by offering plug-in or Cloud-based VSOM® Application Software and innovative VSOM method live cell imaging assays ("VSOM® Assays)" that are optimized for VSOM® Automation Mode.
LCA is currently developing an improved protocol for the selective labeling (and subsequent flow sorting) of living cancer stem cells. Selective cancer stem cell labeling is only one example of the cell type identification assays (i.e., modulated uptake and washout assays) described on our Technology page (e.g., see column 3 "Detailed Discussion"). VSOM is an emerging technology with a wide range of potential applications. The discovery and optimization of cell type identification assays (described on our Technology page) is only one example of one specific application. As discussed on our Technology page, VSOM® Automation Mode offers great advantages not only for the automated discovery and optimization of live cell imaging assays, but also for the intelligent, automated application of these assays during real-time assays, experiments, and processes.
How to Get Started
Our prototype VSOM® System (see Home page, Panel B "Our VSOM® System"") is fully capable of executing the experiments described on our Technology page. We use this prototype VSOM® System when we perform contract research for our customers. We also develop customized VSOM® Application Software for customers who already own a live cell imaging instrument (see our Services page).
The hardware requirements for VSOM Method assays, experiments and processes are as follows. Full implementation of the VSOM Method requires automated HCA imaging instruments configured for live cell kinetic imaging. Automated fluidics capabilities are often required because fluid exchange is a convenient way to automate multistep live cell imaging assays. Automated environmental control of the live cell imaging chamber or vessel is also an important consideration. Environmental control (and sterility) of the specimen vessel are especially important in cases where the specimen vessel remains open during live cell imaging experiments.
During our custom live cell assay development projects (see our Services page), we work closely with the customer to ensure that the live cell assays we develop will be optimized for the target instrument specified by the customer. Alternatively, we can modify our VSOM® Application Software so that customers can use this software to VSOM®-enable their existing HCA imaging system (see our Services page). Once a customer's live cell imaging system is VSOM®-enabled with VSOM® Application Software the customer can use VSOM® Automation Mode to discover and optimize their own custom live cell assays. The customer can also conduct their own VSOM Method experiments and develop their own VSOM Method processes. Please see our Services page and let us know how we can help you get started with VSOM Method experiments, assays and processes.
Notes: VSOM® is a registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office trademark belonging to Live Cell Assays, LLC. The Animations on our Technology page are Adobe Shockwave (SWF) files that require an Adobe Flash plugin. Not all devices support Adobe Flash plugins. Commercial use of patented VSOM Method technologies may require a commercial use license. Contact LCA for details.