Flow Cytometry – It’s not just for immunologist anymore
Flow cytometry is a laser- or impedance-based, biophysical technology employed in cell counting, cell sorting, biomarker detection and protein engineering. The process is conducted by suspending cells in a stream of fluid and passing them through an electronic detection apparatus. The simultaneous multiparametric analysis of the physical and chemical characteristics of particles is facilitated by a flow cytometer at a speed of up to thousands of particles per second. The process is used in the diagnosis of health disorders such as blood cancers along with several applications in basic research, clinical practice, and clinical trials. Flow cytometry facilitates study of the expression of cell surface and intracellular molecules along with characterization of different cell types in a heterogeneous cell population. Moreover, flow cytometry also allows simultaneous multi-parameter analysis of single cells. The combination of technological improvements, growing research activities in life science and increasing clinical application of flow cytometry in diagnosis of HIV and cancer are some of the major factors driving growth of the flow cytometry market.
Flow cytometry is recently undergone new developments with availability of robust photodetectors and new laser emitters, use of LED lamps as emitter, and changes in analytical capacity (multidimensional analysis software). Furthermore, new approaches combining existing technologies with routine laboratory procedures, such as imaging, which makes the acquisition of images of cells possible in real time as they pass by the interrogation point are some of the major advancements in flow cytometry. The process also finds application in cytology, hematology, immunology, and microbiology, among other research fields.
However, lack of skilled technicians for data interpretation & technology implementation is restraining the adoption of flow cytometry, especially in emerging economies.
The global flow cytometry market was valued at US$ 3.2 Bn in 2016 and is expected to witness a robust CAGR of 10.2 % over the forecast period (2017-2025).
Global Flow Cytometry Market By Region - 2016 (US$ Bn)
Source: Coherent Market Insights (2017)
Increase in clinical applications of flow cytometry is expected to favor the flow cytometry market
The use of flow cytometry in clinical laboratory has grown substantially due to the development of smaller, user-friendly, less expensive instruments and increasing number of research application such as, immunophenotyping, cell sorting, cell cycle analysis, Apoptosis, cell proliferation assays, and intracellular calcium flux is expected to favor the growth of flow cytometry market. Besides, flow cytometry has a unique ability to investigate large cell populations at the single-cell level. This favors the adoption of flow cytometry for clinical application.
Furthermore, flow cytometry is also gaining attraction in drug discovery and development, which helps transforming every stage of preclinical and clinical development, that guide new product evaluation, selection and monitoring. Flow cytometry increases the probability of success in drug development and also allows for more informed decision making. The demand for flow cytometry is growing at all phases of development from early to late favoring the growth of flow cytometry use in industry for drug development process.
Flow cytometry is also employed in testing of CD4 count in order to treat HIV patients with suitable antiretroviral drugs. The BD Biosciences provides CD4 testing facilities and products. BD Biosciences has 3 different systems, namely, BD FACSCount system, mostly used in emerging economies, owing to its ease of use; the BD FACSCalibur system is used in large-volume labs where over 1,000,000 tests are performed annually, and the BD FACSCanto II system, used for HIV monitoring and other applications.
North America dominates the global flow cytometry market
North America accounts for the largest share in the global flow cytometry market, followed by Europe. This mainly is attributed to research and advancement in technology and wide acceptance of the flow cytometry and rapid growth of the life sciences sector in developed countries such as the U.S. The flow cytometry market is expected to show high growth rate in Asia-Pacific region over the forecast period supported by increasing prevalence of HIV. According to Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), 2016, around 49,00,000 HIV infected people aged 15 years and above were living in the Asia Pacific region, which in turn is expected to propel the market growth in Asia Pacific region.
Some major players operating in the flow cytometry market are Becton Dickinson and Company, General Electric Company, Luminex Corporation, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc., Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., Miltenyi Biotec GmbH, Merck & Co Inc., Sysmex Corporation, Agilent Technologies, Inc. and Danaher Corporation.