[Cytometry] Cytometry Digest, Vol 16, Issue 16: sorting radioactive cells

David Coder davecoder at gmail.com
Thu Feb 18 11:17:28 EST 2010

Hi Joanne,

When dealing with any potentially dangerous samples, your institution
Environmental Health and Safety Office will have guidelines that apply
to the handling of such samples and procedures with them. This would
be the first place to go for advice since your local regulations will
determine what you can do. As you note that your lab is not approved
for handling radioactive materials, that would seem to prohibit
sorting cells with radioactive labels. If you want to do the work,
then you'll have to have the training and procedures in place to do
so. Again, your EHS officer can provide the details.

Assuming that you want to move forward, you'll need to get from the
investigator the details of just what kind of samples they'll be
providing you such you have an idea of relative risk and follow
appropriate handling procedures. This would include isotope (alpha,
beta, gamma emitter; half life), specific activity, total amount per
sample.  Again, once you know the former, your EHS office can advise
what's appropriate.

Years ago, I had a client who wanted to sort 35S-labeled cells.
Working with EHS, we worked out a procedure similar to what you might
do in sorting infectious material. We did a thorough sampling of the
instrument, sort chamber, and surrounding surfaces to determine
background 35S levels by liquid scintillation counting (fortunately,
it was zero). Sorting was performed with standard operator and room
protections. Post sort, the instrument was cleaned with Count-Off
(radioactivity decontaminant, now available from Perkin Elmer), and
the decontaminant was run as a sample until radiation levels returned
to pre-sort background levels. EHS was happy with the plan, and the
actual sort and cleanup proceeded without a problem.

/<commercial content on>
Again, I can put in a plug for my current employer. The LEAP system
from Cyntellect allows you to do ablation selection of cells with high
purity and recovery in a close microtiter plate where the cells grow.
I introduced you to the ImageStream that's bee a success in your lab.
The LEAP is the next enabling technology for cytometry.
/<commerical content off>

Best regards,
David M. Coder, PhD
Irvine, CA
Email: DaveCoder at gmail.com
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: "Joanne Lannigan" <jl7fj at virginia.edu>
> To: <cytometry at lists.purdue.edu>
> Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2010 16:28:14 -0500
> Subject: [Cytometry] Sorting Radioactive Cells
> Dear Flowers:
> First excuse me if this has already been discussed on the list, but I was
> unable to search the archives (kept getting a server error). I have a client
> who wants to sort radioactive cells. My first gut reaction was "no way"
> which is what I told him, especially since we are not approved for use of
> radioactivity in our labs. Persistence, including help to get us approved
> for radioactive use, has this discussion still going. Supposedly, these
> radioactive compounds have a very short half life (minutes) and would be
> completely non-radioactive within 24 hours. I was wondering if anyone sorts
> radioactive cells and if so what types of precautions do you take? I expect
> that in addition to the instrument being completely decontaminated so not to
> contaminate other sort samples with radioactivity, we must also consider the
> personal biohazards of exposure to radioactive aerosols. Would the typical
> PAPR respirators and a hood be adequate protection? I would appreciate any
> input from those who have grappled with this issue before.
> Thanks, in advance-Joanne
> Joanne Lannigan, MS
> Director, Flow Cytometry Core Facility
> University of Virginia
> Jordan Hall, Room 7067
> P.O. Box 800734
> Charlottesville, VA 22908-0734
> Office: 434-924-0274
> Lab: 434-243-2695
> Fax: 434-982-1071
> email: joannelannigan at virginia.edu

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