Newcastle Laboratories

Flow Cytometry

This section carries out a comprehensive specialised service for the diagnosis and monitoring of immune deficiency and haematological oncology.

Flow cytometry is a technology that is used to analyse the physical and chemical characteristics of particles in a fluid as it passes through at least one laser. Cell components are fluorescently labelled and then excited by the laser to emit light at varying wavelengths.

The fluorescence can be measured to determine various properties of single particles, which are usually cells. Up to thousands of particles per second can be analysed as they pass through the liquid stream. Examples of the properties measured include the particle’s relative granularity, size and fluorescence intensity as well as its internal complexity. An optical-to-electronic coupling system is used to record the way in which the particle emits fluorescence and scatters incident light from the laser.

Flow cytometry is routinely used in the diagnosis of health disorders, especially blood cancers, but has many other applications in basic research, clinical practice and clinical trials. A common variation is to physically sort particles based on their properties, so as to purify populations of interest