Live Cell Assays, LLC ("LCA") is a privately-held biotechnology company in the East San Francisco Bay Area (Lafayette, California). LCA is a small company offering a variety of scientific services inluding contract research (in the fields of live cell imaging and live cell assay development), scientific consulting , and custom software development (in the fields of live cell imaging and live cell assay development). We are also developing multiple products that support live cell kinetic imaging assays and experiments.
Our founder co-invented a method for next-generation experimentation and discovery. This automation method ("Visual-Servoing Optical Microscopy" or "VSOM") can be implemented on imaging instruments capable of acquiring and analyzing subcellular (microscopic) resolution digital images of individual living cells. The custom software we offer (VSOM Application Software) is customized for each new software customer and each new contract research project.
Our current VSOM System (see Home page, Panel B) is controlled by VSOM Application Software. LCA offers contract research services that utilize this VSOM System. For example, LCA offers live cell assay development services and other live cell imaging services that utilize our VSOM System.
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.
Our goal is to bring (i) plug-in and Cloud-based software (VSOM Application Software) and (ii) innovative live cell imaging assays (i.e., VSOM Assays) to the HCA and HCS live cell imaging industry. VSOM Assays are optimized for our VSOM Application Software and our live cell kinetic imaging products.
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 Application Software and VSOM Assays offer many advantages for (i) the discovery and optimization of new and innovative live cell imaging assays, and (ii) the implementation of new and innovative live cell imaging assays during real-time experiments and processes.
How to Get Started
Our prototype VSOM System (see Home page, Panel B) is fully capable of executing the experiments described on our Technology page. We use this prototype VSOM System and our VSOM Application Software when we perform contract research for our customers. We also develop customized versions of our VSOM Application Software for customers who already own a live cell imaging instrument (see our Services page).
The hardware requirements for customers who already own a live cell imaging instrument are as follows. Full implementation of VSOM Application Software requires automated HCA imaging instruments configured for live cell kinetic imaging. Automated fluidics capabilities are usually required because automated fluid exchange is a convenient way to automate multistep VSOM 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. In many cases, special coatings are applied to the inner surface of specimen vessels to facilitate live cell adhesion and (semi-) immobilization during perfusion experiments. We are developing these types of specimen vessels.
During 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 on our local VSOM System will be optimized for the target instrument(s) specified by the customer. In some cases, the target instrument may not be a live cell imaging instrument (e.g., in some cases, assays that selectively label living cells are optimized to faciliate subsequent live cell sorting on non-imaging flow sorting instruments). As mentioned above, we can also provide custom VSOM Application Software so that customers can perform automated assay development experiments on their existing HCA imaging systems (see our Services page).
Notes: Commercial use of patented VSOM Method technologies may require a commercial use license. Contact LCA for details.