The IGTP cytometry core facility is a reference for spectral cytometry in Europe

- Research

The Cytometry core facility, headed by Dr Marco Antonio Fernández, is one of the 9 European laboratories developing multidimensional panels for spectral cytometry to study the immune response to COVID-19 with the company Cytek Biosciences. Now the IGTP is one of the reference centres in this technology, the result of work in laboratories in Holland, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain.

During the peak of the pandèmic these groups of researchers have been working with an unprecedented number of cellular markers thanks to the power of the spectral cytometers of Cytek Biosciences, distributed in Spain by Palex Medical. The cytometry core facility at the IGTP has designed different panels to screen for 37 and 39 biomarkers simultaneously, which are to be used immediately for studies of COVID-19. Spectral cytometry allows for higher capacity analysis than conventional flow cytometry and the supplier works in collaboration with the users to develop and refine the technology. These techniques are proving to be key in the development of projects related to vaccines and the immune response to SARS-CoV-2.

Currently, as well as being a reference centre and technology consultancy the IGTP cytometry facility is supporting various research projects studying immunity in COVID-19 patients on the Can Ruti Campus. These include a study focussed on the reaction of the immune system to the virus led by Dr Julià Blanco, Dr Jorge Carillo and Dr Marta Massanella from IrsiCaixa and the IGTP; a study financed by the Institut de Salud Carlos III, led by Dr Ricardo Pujol at Vall d'Hebron Research Institute in which the Immunopathology Group at the IGTP is participating with a project led by Dr Aina Teniente to study the immunological profile of 300 patients in different phases of the disease to detect profiles of higher risk.

The Cytex Aurora arrived at the IGTP cytometry facility in May thanks to a grant awarded by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities in the 2019 call for ERDF funds. As well as providing support for the more immediate study of COVID-19 the spectral Technology will be key in developing vaccines and treatments for other infectious diseases such as: HIV, tuberculosis and malària. Other studies of responses at the cellular level being carried out by groups on the campus will also benefit, for example those carrying out research into multiple sclerosis or immunotherapies.