Tracking App can Analyze Proliferation of Cells in Stem Cell Therapies

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National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed Web Image Processing Pipeline (WIPP), an auto-imaging tool allows users to collect, view, and manage terabyte-sized images.

Research team at NIST was focused on developing a technology that can closely track cell population over long period of time. The Web Image Processing Pipeline (WIPP) is an image analyzing system, which allows a user to view macroscopic objects. A cell culture is divided in real locations that can be tracked with a GPS like system. It combines video footage and high-power computation for evaluating and quantifying features of cell populations that are associated with cell therapies.

Stem cell therapies require continuous production of stem cells along with monitoring their production pattern to prevent side effects. Proliferation and differentiation of cells in lab conventionally require close quality control. The new Web Image Processing Pipeline (WIPP) application can easily analyze thousands of cells from different perspectives while growing. The system works by photographing the sections of the cell culture dish where colony is grown using microscope. Images are combined together to form a view of the entire dish at each point in time. Each of those complex composite, single-time-point images are then run like a movie, revealing the cells’ entire history.

“We believe live cell imaging is really the only tool you can use to follow single cells in time and understand at the single cell level how behavior at a given point in time is related to the future,” says Michael Halter, team leader for image acquisition for the WIPP project. “We don’t just want to analyze one colony or a few colonies. We want to look at all of the colonies and we want to look at them over time.” NIST is offering WIPP interface free of charge for research purposes. Researchers believe that other organizations working on expanding the potential of stem cells will improve upon WIPP within new applications.

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