SA’s first spectral analyser speeds up research

15 Jun 2023
SA’s first spectral analyser speeds up research

South Australia's first spectral analyser is now operating at SAHMRI, thanks to a whopping $1 million in community donations.

The Detmold Spectral Analyser is unlocking critical insights into health and disease, primarily being used to power cancer and heart research, allowing scientists to analyse tumours, cells and organs like never before.

The technology has immediately doubled the number of parameters scientists can set to obtain data when analysing samples, offering an unprecedented opportunity to extract far more information from limited and irreplaceable samples.

Unlike traditional cytometers that focus on specific signals, the spectral analyser examines the entire spectrum of a sample so that nothing goes to waste.

The purchase of the Detmold Spectral Analyser has been funded by a $500,000 donation from the Detmold Group (Detpak) ; supplemented by another $500,000 contribution from the McMahon Family to cover research and development, facilitation and upkeep.

Flow Cytometry Facility Manager and McMahon Family Fellow, Dr Randall Grose, says it’s a game changer for many researchers in Adelaide’s biomedical precinct, offering a raft of benefits that’ll flow through to help patients.

"Previously we were limited to studying about 20 parameters on each individual cell. Now we can analyse up to 40 or 50 parameters per cell and there’s potential for this to expand even further in the future,” Dr Grose said.

“It allows us to maximise the information obtained from precious samples, such as those collected from cancer patients at the time of diagnosis."

The impact of the spectral analyser extends beyond increased data output.

It enables researchers to explore previously uncharted areas by examining a broader range of cell types and subsets simultaneously.

By gaining a more comprehensive understanding of cellular processes, researchers can accelerate their studies, achieve greater precision and make faster breakthroughs.

"The spectral analyser eliminates the interference caused by autofluorescence, a natural property of cells. This interference often hinders the quantification of staining and the assessment of certain drug treatments. Removing this obstacle provides clearer and more reliable results,” Dr Grose said.

Acting Co-CEO of the Detmold Group, Sascha Detmold Cox, said the 75-year-old family business had been a strong supporter of medical research in South Australia and had been a long-time donor to SAHMRI.

“South Australia is a leading contributor to medical research and SAHMRI has been undertaking invaluable research since it opened its doors in 2009 and its new facility in 2013,” Ms Detmold Cox said.

“The Detmold Group has supported SAHMRI on that journey in the hope that it may help researchers make breakthroughs and advance medical science to the benefit of everyone, now and in the years to come, and the spectral analyser will play an important role in that process.”

The Detmold Group has donated in excess of $2.5million to SAHMRI since the founding of the institute.

“We’re incredibly fortunate to have the support of the Detmold Group. Their previous involvement with SAHMRI’s flow cytometry facility highlights their long-standing interest in supporting our research initiatives,” Dr Grose said.

“We’re thankful for their contribution, which will not only benefit SAHMRI but also the wider research community in South Australia.”

The Detmold Spectral Analyser is already being used by dozens of SAHMRI researchers and will be utilised by many others from external institutions.

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