CellMek SPS System: Optimized Time to Result

CellMek SPS System automated end-to-end sample preparation

The CellMek SPS System is an automated sample preparation system intended for in vitro diagnostic use in flow cytometry laboratories. It was designed to enable lean processing. The LEAN concept provides a systemic approach to look at workflows to remove all non-value adding process steps, the so-called process wastes, in order to increase efficiency. The CellMek SPS System automates end-to-end clinical flow cytometry sample preparation workflows without needing user intervention. The system can perform fully automated cell washing, RBC lysing, and antibody staining with a choice of dry and liquid reagents. It provides on-demand processing by running multiple programmable preparation methods in parallel, and continuous output of ready-to-analyze samples.

The CellMek SPS System is ideal for small to medium and even high-throughput labs (multiple units required) performing complex assays. The system does not require batching of specimen by application due to flexibility in its integrated scheduling abilities. Samples are inserted through cassettes, at a maximum of 6 cassettes loaded with 5 specimen tubes each. Cassettes can continuously be loaded, and the system has automated rocking and cap piercing, so there is no need to manually remove specimen tube caps. When sample preparation is complete, simply move the output carousel to the flow cytometer for analysis. Because mixing and incubations are performed in reaction plates, the user can request release of the output carousel anytime to start analyzing the first set of samples while the system continues preparing further samples for a new carousel.

CellMek SPS System features automatic scheduling of sample preparation steps

Sample preparation scheduler uses the same underlying software architecture as found in other Beckman Coulter Life Sciences Preparation Systems, and it continues to serve as an architectural foundation for future product development. For all specimen tubes that are scanned in a cassette, the scheduler knows the order of the operations for all panel tubes and the minimum and maximum incubation times. The scheduler runs many simulations where operations are rearranged (while still respecting the order within a panel tube and incubation times). Every time the scheduler simulates a runpath it determines the ETC (Estimated Time to Completion). The scheduler then selects the shortest ETC path for the actual sample preparation. If the optimal solution has not yet been found within 2 minutes, then the total number of panels in the cassette is divided into smaller groups of panels so that the scheduler can schedule each in less than 2 minutes. This process ensures that the system always uses the shortest ETC and maximizes the efficiency of the system by reducing idle processing time.

Software steps for scheduling panels

Figure 1. Software scheduling steps to establish shortest estimated time to completion (ETC).

Scheduling a 2-Tube Panel on 2 Donors

Figure 2. An example of the scheduling of two 2-tube panels.

How CellMek SPS System benefits the clinical flow customer

Labs are currently facing a labor shortage of highly skilled medical technologists. Automation of sample processing in clinical flow cytometry presents a significant opportunity to address these shortages and increase the efficiency of the workflow while also improving standardization and reducing the potential for errors that can arise from manual methods.

  • Can run peripheral blood, bone marrow and dissected tissue samples in a single-cell suspension
  • Runs a wide variety of applications
  • Standardizes processes & reduces potential for error
  • Ensures flexibility via user-defined protocols
  • Onboard reagent storage with choice of liquid or dry
  • Spin Wash Chambers provide onboard washing capability; washing steps can be freely programmed (both pre- and post-washes)
  • Provides confidence in results facilitated by a full audit trail
  • Reduces hands-on tech time
  • Frees up your talented lab staff to deal with more complex, value-adding tasks

Figure 3. Comparison of standard manual workflow vs CellMek SPS System automated workflow.