Summary

Flow cytometry is a platform upon which dozens of very different, highly-specialized assays can be performed, and provides the capability for performing many of these assays simultaneously. It is this multifactorial nature of the analysis which makes the FACS a unique tool in immunobiology today. The extremely high information density of the data derived from FACS assays is an absolute requirement to begin to elucidate the extremely complex immune system. FACS technology continues to evolve at a fast pace, as it has for a quarter of a century. This evolution includes a continuous infusion of applications into the clinical environment - indeed, the power of FACS for clinical diagnosis and prognosis is already evident from the fact that virtually every modern hospital has at least one of these instruments. The assays being developed in basic research laboratories today, such as those described above, will become routine clinical assays in hospital settings over the next decade.

See also: B lymphocytes; CD antigens; Cell separation techniques; Fluorochrome labeling; T lymphocytes.

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