Live Cell Assays, LLC ("LCA") is a privately-held biotechnology company in the East San Francisco Bay Area (Pleasant Hill, 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 (in the fields of live cell imaging and live cell assay development), and on-site teaching (in the fields of General Science, Chemistry and Biology).
LCA also offers custom designed software. 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, "Our VSOM® System"") 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.
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 the innovative live cell imaging assays during real-time experiments, and processes.
How to Get Started
Our prototype VSOM® System (see Home page, Panel B "Our VSOM® System"") 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.
During our 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 instruments (e.g., cases where selectively labeled living cells are sorted on flow sorting cytometers). As mentioned above, we can also provide custom VSOM® Application Software so that customers can perform their own assay development experiments on their existing HCA imaging systems (see our Services page).
Notes: VSOM® is a registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office trademark belonging to Live Cell Assays, LLC. Commercial use of patented VSOM Method technologies may require a commercial use license. Contact LCA for details.