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The detection of rare cells is useful not only to understand disease mechanisms but also to identify novel targets for further treatments. Based on multiparameter capabilities and a very high analysis rate, Creative Biolabs has developed the most potent technology and provides a suite of customized services to address challenges at a single cell level. Particularly, our high-sensitivity detection and analysis of rare cells by integrated magnetic enrichment and flow cytometry will help clients to collect desired cells as many as possible.

Rare Cells

Rare cells exist alone or within a mixture in relatively low numbers, and they are often indicative of health status. Cells present where they do not exist, normally suggesting a serious pathological condition. The study of rare cell populations shows growing importance to the development and advancement of medical diagnostics and therapeutics. In several clinical practices, counting rare cells will provide valuable information, for example, searching for circulating tumor cells in peripheral blood, tumor stem cells, and endothelial cells, as well as fetal cells in maternal circulation.

Detection of Rare Cells

Detection of Rare Cells

Detection of these extremely rare cells requires the acquisition of large cell numbers. However, standard flow cytometric assay is restricted by the total number of cells obtained during a single measurement. Here, we have modified conventional protocols to dramatically increases the sensitivity of subsequent analysis by adding a step of pre-enrichment for a rare target population.

Enrichment can be implemented by magnetic cell separation, permitting rapid processing of very large quantities of cells. To gain such high sensitivity, our technicians integrate magnetic pre-enrichment and FCM analysis in a single automated workflow, and simultaneous quantification of absolute target cell numbers can be performed by volumetric determination. In addition, avoiding false-positive cells by doublet exclusion improves the detection of rare cells, such as using a dump channel.

Overview of Finder of Rare Entities (FiRE). Fig.1 Overview of Finder of Rare Entities (FiRE). (Jindal, 2018)

Microscopy still functions to characterize rare cells that can be isolated through flow methods by cell-based morphological assessment, using event- and molecule-specific fluorescent tags. Our FCM also combines these analytical functions and introduce an optimization that utilizes fiber-optic array scanning technology (FAST), which applies laser-printing techniques to rare cell detection problem. Compared to common automated digital microscopy (ADM), the laser-printing optics of FAST cytometry are used to motivate 300,000 cells per sec, and emission is collected in a wide field of view, enabling a 500-fold speed-up over ADM.

Detection of Treatment Resistant Cells

Cancer therapeutic resistance of cells occurs as cancers develop resistance to treatments such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapies. The phenomenon involves certain genetic and epigenetic changes in the cancer cell and the microenvironment where the cancer cell resides. Treatment resistance is an enormous challenge that is responsible for most relapses after successful therapy. Unraveling cancer relapse needs to know the processes underlying cancer drug resistance, and the detection of these resistant cells is the first step for downstream analysis. The ability to accurately identify treatment resistant cells in a cell population is critical for the research of disease progression and for the understanding of key pathways in normal development. Here, we'd like to offer the following services including but not limited to:

Detection of Rare Cells
  • Cancer Biomarker Tests – There are numerous biomarkers tested in different cancer cells through FCM, including carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), prostate-specific antigen (PSA), human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), and so on. We also provide highly complicated data analytical algorithms for fingerprint detection of cancer biomarkers.
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Tests - A solution is recently found by using a nuclear medicine technique, PET, to diagnosis drug resistance of cells during treatment. It can be used for the detection of cancer localization and applied to determine the metabolic activity of neoplastic cells.


  • The one-stop service package for an optimal strategy with higher resolution and superior sensitivity.
  • High efficiently identifying and sorting cells for downstream testing.
  • Multiparameter measurements with increased assay specificity.

Cells of biomedical interest are often in very small numbers, despite their functional significance. With sustained technological improvements, single cell omics has increasingly become prevalent and contributes to the discovery of new and rare cell types, and to the deciphering of comprehensive disease pathogenesis. As a well-recognized expert in single cell omics, Creative Biolabs has made single cell isolation feasible through the development of current technologies, allowing the detection and analysis of cells less frequent than one in a million. Please do not hesitate to contact us to know more.


  1. Jindal, Aashi, Prashant Gupta, and Debarka Sengupta. "Discovery of rare cells from voluminous single cell expression data." Nature communications 9.1 (2018): 4719.
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