Tools of the trade

Life science tool providers provide constant support to ever-evolving stem cell research community

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After severaldecades of groundbreaking findings, researchers now more than ever before arecommencing, broadening or accelerating their examination of stem cells—and fornew stem cell insights to continually emerge, the biomedical research communitydemands constant support from life science research tool suppliers, accordingto a recent report by market research firm Frost & Sullivan.
The July 2010report, "Strategic Analysis of End-user Preferences in the U.S. Stem CellResearch Tools Markets," measures brand perceptions of tools and technologiescurrently at the forefront of stem cell research specifically. Additionally, thestudy measures perceptions of equipment manufacturers for their service,quality and value as well as current and future plans for stem cell research.
"Additionaladvancements in stem cell research are unattainable without innovative andcost-effective technologies that deliver reliable and reproducible results,"Frost & Sullivan notes in its report. "With superior customer service and awide portfolio of high-quality and valuable products, life science researchtool suppliers can have an enormous impact on stem cell research progress."
According to thefirm, there are five major categories of life science technologies needed forstem cell research: Bio-imaging and microscopy, cell biology tools,immunochemicals, molecular biology tools and protein biochemistry tools.
Bio-imaging andmicroscopy products include: chemilluminescence imaging; confocal microscopes;fluorescence microscopes; fluorometer/fluorescence detection instruments; in-vivo imaging systems (small animalimaging systems); infrared imaging (FTIR/IR imaging); laser capturemicrodissection/laser microdissection; live cell imaging; microscope slidescanner/digital pathology (digital histology); molecular imaging; multiplexassay systems/fluorescence multiplex arrays; and others. Top tool providers inthis area, according to Frost & Sullivan's survey, include Carl Zeiss Inc.,Nikon Corp. and Olympus America Inc. Other high-ranking companies, according tothe survey, include Amnis Corp., Applied Biosystems, BD Biosciences, Kodak andLeica Microsystems.
Cell biologytools include: cell analysis equipment; cell culture equipment, media andreagents; cell isolation tools; cell proliferation tools; cell signaltransduction tools; cell-based assay design and development tools; cell-basedassay kits, cells and cell lines; flow cytometry; infectious agents; researchanimals and accessories; serum; stem cell culture reagents; and transfectiontools. Frost & Sullivan's survey found that above all suppliers, Invitrogenranks first in terms of customer service, product quality, best cost and bestvalue. Other suppliers ranking high in the survey include BD Biosciences;Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc.; EMD Biosciences; Lonza; Promega; Sigma-Aldrich Co.LLC; StemCell Technologies; and Thermo Fisher Scientific/Cellomics.
Immunochemicalsinclude: antibodies; cytokines, chemokines and growth factors; ELISA andmultiplexed ELISAs; enzymes; histochemistry/immunohistochemistry tools;immunoassays; and immunoglobulins. According to Frost & Sullivan, Abcam PLCleads as the primary supplier of immunochemicals, followed closely byInvitrogen and Santa Cruz Biotechnology Inc. Other top-ranking suppliers inthis category include: AbD Serotec; Active Motif; BD Biosciences; CellSignaling Technology; Millipore; R&D Systems; Rockland Immunochemicals; andSignalway Antibody Co.
Molecularbiology tools include: cloning and expression tools; DNA sequencing; microarrayscanners; microarrays; molecular biology reagents; nucleic acid analysis tools,labeling and purification tools; PCR/real-time PCR; RNAi technology(siRNA/miRNA/shRNA); and other genomics tools. Again, Frost & Sullivan'ssurvey ranked Invitrogen as the top supplier in this category. Othertop-ranking suppliers, according to the survey, include: Applied Biosystems;Clontech; Millipore; New England Biolabs; Promega; QIAGEN; Roche AppliedScience; and Thermo Fisher Scientific/Cellomics.
Proteinbiochemistry tools include: biochemistry reagents; chromatography equipment,media and columns; protein analysis/protein characterization tools; proteinexpression, modification and purification tools; other proteomics tools;Western blotting tools; and mass spectrometry. Frost & Sullivan's surveyranked Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. as the top supplier in this category. Othercompanies gaining favor from survey respondents include: Abnova; EMDBiosciences; GE Healthcare; Invitrogen; Millipore; Promega; Sigma-Aldrich; andThermo Fisher Scientific.
The market fortool suppliers is expected to grow as human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research"is allowed to blossom as an industry," says Jonathan Witonsky, industrymanager of Frost & Sullivan's Drug Discovery Technologies & ClinicalDiagnostics division.
"One thing tokeep in mind is that with a lot of researchers we talk to, they are notnecessarily looking solely at hESCs. So some of the controversy does notnecessarily represent a major drawback for these product categories, but at thesame time, as research progresses, it will drive more demand for these tools,"he adds.

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To view all of the content from our three-part series onstem cell research, click here

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