Apr 22, 2022
High Resolution: How an Innovation in Reagents is Helping Researchers See More Clearly to Advance Discovery

Remember old tube TVs? Adjusting those rabbit ear antennas to remove static, tapping the side of the box to make the “snow” fade. While we accepted this technology at the time, in hindsight we recognize that the image quality we enjoyed then was fuzzy, dim and unreliable. Of course, technology has advanced and today we are fortunate to have high-definition TVs that are brighter and clearer.

In the world of flow cytometry, the latest advancement in reagent technology from BD introduces a new family of fluorochromes to researchers that's akin to looking at a high-definition TV, instead of a tube TV, to see confidently and clearly cells of interest in experiments.

How fluorochromes work today

Flow cytometry is an essential technique in biomedical research that allows scientists to identify and analyze single cells based on their characteristics, letting scientists study them in more detail to do everything from better understand the immune system to develop new treatments for diseases like cancer and HIV.

Fluorochromes, or fluorescent dyes, are a key component of reagents used in flow cytometry experiments. They are photoreactive chemical compounds that can be excited by laser light to enable the detection of features of interest on a cell. The critical challenge today is that fluorochromes are often not “clean.” This means that due to effects like cross-laser excitation, spillover and background noise, researchers are limited in the number of characteristics they can see and analyze confidently in a single sample.

Using an innovative new approach to develop a brighter, cleaner fluorochrome

BD recently launched a new family of fluorochromes to address this challenge. The BD Horizon RealYellow™ and RealBlue™ Reagents enable researchers to see cleaner data resolution and gain deeper insights from samples compared to traditional fluorescent dyes. How was this breakthrough in flow cytometry achieved?

The new fluorochromes were developed using novel BD dye technology and an artificial intelligence (AI)-guided approach to selecting the optimal fluorochrome positions. The AI algorithm analyzed existing data from excitation and emission profiles of current commercially available fluorochromes, then identified the optimal positions in laser lines for new dyes to be developed. The BD Research and Development team then developed dyes to fit these profiles using the novel BD dye technology.

The result? These laser-specific fluorochromes enable researchers to more accurately see their cells of interest and gain more insights from a single sample. So just as a high-definition TV allows us to see details previously obscured, these new fluorochromes are opening up how much we can see and ultimately understand from cells of interest. The combination of next-generation dye technology and AI guidance is what makes these fluorochromes unique in the industry and the first of their kind.

An impact on flow cytometry now and in the future

The BD Horizon RealYellow™ and RealBlue™ Reagents are optimized for not only conventional flow cytometry but spectral flow cytometry, a rapidly growing field that allows for even more characteristics to be measured from a single sample. Spectral flow cytometry is increasing in popularity among researchers and widely considered the future direction of the field. Leveraging spectral flow cytometry, the new fluorochromes will further enable researchers to perform high-dimensional research to address highly complex questions.

"With this innovation, BD demonstrates its continued leadership in the exciting field of spectral flow cytometry,” said Steve Conly, vice president and general manager of Research and Clinical Solutions for BD Biosciences. “The new reagents will complement future products that leverage BD CellView™ Image Technology, our new technology that adds fluorescence imaging and image-based decisioning to sort individual cells at high speed based on the visual details of each cell, to empower researchers with a truly unique solution for cutting-edge flow cytometry.”

Empowering researchers to accelerate scientific and therapeutic discovery

By overcoming this long-standing limitation in flow cytometry, scientists are now empowered to more accurately and confidently study cells of interest, which can streamline discovery research and unlock potential therapies for disease in a broad range of fields including oncology, autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases.

BD has been a pioneer in flow cytometry since the 1970s, when it commercialized the first cell sorter. Since then, the company has continued to build upon that expertise and leadership, attract great and bright minds in science and technology, and, like going from tube TVs to high-definition TVs, expand on beloved tools of the past to introduce exciting new tools for the future. With the launch of BD Horizon RealYellow™ and RealBlue™ Reagents, BD looks forward to seeing how the scientific community will use these innovative fluorochromes to continue to advance scientific discovery.

Learn more about BD Horizon RealYellow™ and RealBlue™ Reagents at bdbiosciences.com/real.

Learn more about the release of BD Horizon RealYellow™ 586 Reagents.

For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic or therapeutic procedures.

BD-60623 (v1.0) 0422


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