Recent News

CEO Corner - Thursday, June 13, 2019 iCubate is proud to be a part of ASM Microbe 2019. Many of us will be on site at the Moscone Center in San Francisco for this outstanding scientific conference. At ASM Microbe 2019, there are many ways to learn why iCubate is right for your lab. These include: 1) attend iCubate's workshop @ 1pm on Thursday, June 20th; 2) stop by booth 4241 at 1pm on Friday, June 21st to see how easy it is to use iCubate assays; 3) Wes Coleman will demonstrate operating the iCubate platform - or you can try it for yourself at 1pm on Saturday, June 22nd at booth 4241; and 4) on Sunday, June 23rd @ 1pm at booth 4241, join the discussion about the value iCubate brings to the clinical laboratory. Look forward to seeing you in San Francisco.   Carter Wells CEO, iCubate  

Closed iCubate cassette may give you a new office

Typically, to set up a molecular lab, you need at least three isolated rooms: one for sample prep, one for setting up the PCR reactions, and one for detection. You need these rooms because of the concern about amplicon contamination that leads to false positive results. That concern is warranted, because like earthquakes in California, it is not if, but when it will occur. With the iCubate cassette, the reagents are preloaded and sealed, so the users do not need to set up the reaction by mixing the primers, enzymes and buffers together. This removed the opportunity to contaminate a ...
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What it takes to automate an assay?

The answer: (1) start with a simple assay that really works; (2) finish it by a great engineer team. There were several multiplex attempts out there, but non become successful commercial product. The reason: the assay they try to automate usually has too many enzymatic steps, and includes too many procedures such as post-PCR clean up and post-hybridization washes. In order to automate an assay, the assay itself must be really simple. We start with a very simple arm-PCR method that works very well. Another reason the iCubate automation attempt is successful is because we did not add any uncertainty ...
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Multiplexed assays have greater clinical sensitivity

There are two kinds of sensitivities: analytical sensitivity, and clinical sensitivity. Analytical sensitivity is all about copy numbers: How many copies would your test need to give a positive result? The more sensitive an assay is, the less copy it will require to yield a positive result. Clinical sensitivity is all about the patient: when a patient is sick with a disease, how often could your assay give an answer? People often get these two kinds of sensitivity mixed up. They would say, “when I compare a multiplexed assay, its sensitivity is not as good as a regular real-time PCR.” ...
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Reinventing PCR: Who?

Why us? why we were the lucky ones that developed the new multiplex PCR strategies? The Polymerase Chain Reaction was invented more than 20 years ago, the inventor, Kary Mullis, won Nobel Price in 1993. I believe that the reason why so many people failed to make multiplexing work is because we all trusted the TM (melting temperature) too much. During early years of PCR, some cleaver engineers developed software programs to aid the primer design. And at the core of many of these software, is the prediction of TM. It makes sense, for a pair of primers (or many ...
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Reinventing PCR: How?

To solve the three problems mentioned before, we came up with this multiplex PCR strategy called tem-PCR (for target enriched multiplex PCR). We use at least two pairs of nested primers for each amplification target, so if there is 10 targets we want to amplify together (multiplex), there will be total of 40 primers (4x10). The inside primers for each target have a tag (a short DNA sequence) that is shared by all the target, and it can be recognized by a pair of primers that we call “superprimers”. The “trick” is that all these target specific nested primers were ...
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Reinventing PCR: What?

What are the challenges for developing multiplex PCR assays? The three major difficulties are: incompatibility, high background, and poor reproducibility. The first problem (incompatibility) makes assay development very difficult; the second problem (high background) makes automation very difficult; and the third problem (poor reproducibility) makes regulatory approval very difficult. These are the reasons why we still do not see many multiplex molecular assays on the market. First, the primer incompatibility issue. Each targets need one pair of primers to amplify. Yet each primer has its own “optimal” condition (temperature, pH, iron concentration, etc). To make two primers work together is ...
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Reinventing PCR: Why?

Why PCR need to be reinvented? Because it can not multiplex, of course! (Or should we learn from Clinton and say, “it is the multiplexing, stupid!”) When PCR was invented some 20 years ago, it can only amplify  one target at a time. And it remain so for so many years. People tried to do multiplex PCR, but it is difficult. For 2-3 targets, it is fine, but more than 3, it become increasingly impossible. Why we need multiplex? Because many of the diseases, as we know it, are defined by symptoms. By sharing symptoms, diseases appears identical to physician's ...
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iCubate at the 15th Annual AMP meeting

iCubate Reveal our platform for the first time at the 15th Annual AMP meeting in Orlando. Please visit us at booth 1523 ...
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