Flowcytometry

Howard Shapiro hms at shapirolab.com
Tue Jun 1 06:39:53 EST 2004


Peter-

>i am a kenyan intrested in learning more about this
>technique.I have worked with 3 flowcytometers over the
>past 1 year:FACS Calibur,Count and GUAVA PCA but it
>has been tough because i had to learn through many
>errors.Do you have any old books you could donate for
>learning or recommend any sites that give indepth
>information on the subject.i would really appreciate.

The most accessible [free] information can be found at the Purdue Cytometry 
Web Site (www.cyto.purdue.edu); you can download PowerPoint files of 
lectures by Paul Robinson and others about flow cytometry and related 
topics. Purdue also maintains a Cytometry Mailing List; archives of the 
e-mails in this list are kept on the Web Site, and you can subscribe to the 
list by sending e-mail to <subscribe at flowcyt.cyto.purdue.edu>.

There is no point to reading old books about flow cytometry; the field 
changes too rapidly and, if you want to learn it properly, you need the 
information in the newer books. Companies like BD Biosciences and Guava are 
very anxious to sell Kenya and other resource-poor countries their 
instruments for tens of thousands of dollars; they should be willing to 
provide their customers and potential customers with educational materials.

The most complete current reference on flow cytometry is the 4th Edition of 
my book, Practical Flow Cytometry, published by Wiley-Liss (www.wiley.com) 
in 2003. This book costs over US$100; I can't afford to give people copies 
because I myself have to buy the book from the publisher. You might try on 
your own initiative to get the manufacturer(s) of the flow cytometer(s) you 
now work with to provide a copy of the book for your laboratory.

However, it seems to me that this issue should be addressed on a broader 
front. I will send a copy of this e-mail to the Cytometry Mailing List, 
which I know is read with interest by many people who work for the 
cytometer manufacturers. The book is available in quantity for about US$80, 
which is a very small fraction of the selling price of an instrument. If 
the manufacturers are now willing to sell the reagents for CD4 counting for 
around US$3 per test, giving the book to each laboratory in which they 
place an instrument would cost them no more than would donating reagents 
for a couple of dozen tests. We know from experience that the quality 
control of CD4 counting or any other cytometric procedure depends first and 
foremost on having well trained operators. The manufacturers, to their 
credit, provide training courses and educational materials, but, within a 
short time after they finish training, most people who work with flow 
cytometry come up with questions they can't answer given only what has been 
provided to them. The Cytometry Mailing List and Practical Flow Cytometry 
have each served as a source of information for thousands of new - and 
experienced - users of flow cytometry.

I would suggest that the manufacturers get together on this. If they are 
feeling flush, they can give away the book or its generic equivalent to 
labs, as I have suggested. If they are not, let them plead jointly to 
organizations such as the Gates and Clinton Foundations and see whether the 
Bills will pay the bills.

Best wishes,

-Howard Shapiro





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