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Manchester, United Kingdom

EPISTEM Ltd | Date: 2013-08-07

We describe a quantitative PCR (qPCR) instrument for combined qPCR and melt curve (dissociation and/or association curve) analysis. The instrument has at least one optical channel; a fluorescence excitation source; a fluorescence detector; an electronic analogue signal amplifier having an input coupled to an output of the fluorescence detector; and an analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) having analogue input coupled to an output of the analogue signal amplifier. The instrument further comprises a quantified automatic gain control (AGC) loop coupled between the signal output of the fluorescence detector and the analogue input of the ADC. The AGC loop is configured to apply a determined, numerical gain value to a fluorescence signal for the analogue input of the ADC. The instrument also includes a system to scale a digital output of the ADC responsive to the numerical gain value and to provide a digital fluorescence level signal from the scaled digital output.

An assembly and related methods are described for the preparation and processing of samples in molecular biology assays and nucleic acid amplification reactions. The assembly allows rapid and easy processing with reduced sample handling compared to known sample preparation apparatus and methods. The assembly comprises a reaction vessel, a sample matrix and a lid. The invention further provides an integrated punch to punch out discs of the sample matrix into the reaction vessel (without handling); thereby reducing the sample handling required to generate the final amplified nucleic acid product.

Epistem Ltd | Date: 2012-01-06

A method for analysing genetic mutations, and in particular single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and/or somatic mutations, is described, as well as methods for preferentially amplifying one allelic form compared with another form. The methods use an oligonucleotide probe which hybridises to a first allele with a lower melting temperature (Tm) than that with which it hybridises to a second allele, together with amplification primers which flank the oligonucleotide probe binding site and which bind to the sample with a higher Tm than that of the probe and the first allele. An amplification reaction may be carried out at a temperature such that the probe is preferentially hybridised to the second allele, thereby amplifying the first allele. The amplified sequences may be detected using the same probe as acted as the blocking probe during amplification.

Epistem Ltd | Date: 2012-09-25

An assay for mutations in JAK2 is described. The assay uses selective amplification of mutant alleles with a blocker probe which preferentially hybridises to wild type alleles. The same probe is then used to detect presence or absence of wild type sequences. It is not necessary to know the specific mutant sequence beforehand.

EPISTEM Ltd | Date: 2012-01-06

The present invention provides a method of operating a thermal cycler using readable tags (for example, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)) to simplify the operation and to reduce user interaction requirements. The RFID tag is used to program the thermal cycler unit. This automates process flow and allows single button operation. In general terms, the invention uses RFID tags provided on reaction vessels to identify a particular vessel; while a readable program card contains data associating reaction vessel identities with specific operations (eg, thermal cycling program, detection steps) to be performed on that vessel. The thermal cycler detects the reaction vessel RFID tag, and selects an appropriate operation to perform.

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