Not too long ago, four-color flow cytometers were widely used for immunophenotyping and provided reliable and cutting edge data. Now, flow cytometry staining panels can include up to 50 colors and provide you with the ability to immunophenotype multiple cell subsets at once. These highly complex panels are attractive because so much data can be gathered from a single experiment, but the sheer size of the staining panel can feel daunting to the most experienced flow cytometry user. How do you take the leap into the world of high complexity staining panels? Consult with expert scientists at contract research organizations (CROs) who have experience developing such high complexity panels.
Consider these pros and cons of working with a CRO to develop complex staining panels.
- Your protocol will be developed by experts who know how to evaluate optimal fluorochromes for their specific cytometers.
- CROs can help you plan your experiments before you reach your actual study itself, so you can be assured that you will get the most out of your data.
- CROs can handle large batches of samples and large quantities of data, and are comfortable scaling up experiments as needed.
- CROs are likely to cost more than running the samples yourself, but their expertise and speed may be a tradeoff to consider.
- CROs need time to plan, so you will have to coordinate your experiments such that they can be processed and run at a time that works for you and the CRO.
- You sacrifice the freedom of running experiments at your convenience.
Take into account the scope of your project and the data you are trying to obtain. CROs may be the best option for you when taking on complex flow cytometry staining panels.