The term Cytometry by Time of Flight
(CyTOF) combines a variation of flow cytometry in which antibodies are labeled with heavy metal ion tags with time-of-flight mass spectrometry. CyTOF enables simultaneous deep phenotyping with functional profiling.
Cytometry by Time of Flight takes advantage of the low spectral overlap between heavy metal isotopes - their unique mass signatures are detectable by mass spectrometry.
This allows the simultaneous detection and resolution of up to 100 molecular parameters per cell, substantially more than are practical with the use of fluorescent dyes. The amount of data from one experiment is enormous and facilitates research on entire cell signalling networks.
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