Real time visualization of cancer cell death, survival and proliferation using fluorochrome-transfected cells in an IncuCyte® imaging system


  • Thomas M. Lanigan University of Michigan
  • Stephanie M. Rasmussen University of Michigan
  • Daniel P. Weber University of Michigan
  • Kalana S. Athukorala University of Michigan
  • Phillip L. Campbell University of Michigan
  • David A. Fox University of Michigan
  • Jeffrey H. Ruth University of Michigan



cancer, fluorescence, transduction


Cancer immunotherapy is a rapidly advancing and viable approach to treating cancer along with more traditional forms of therapy. Real-time cell analysis technologies that examine the dynamic interactions between cancer cells and the cells of the immune system are becoming more important for assessment of novel therapeutics. In this report, we use the IncuCyte® imaging system to study the killing potential of various immune cells on cancer cell lines. The IncuCyte® system tracks living cells, labeled by a red fluorescent protein, and cell death, as indicated by the caspase-3/7 reagent, which generates a green fluorescent signal upon activation of apoptotic pathways. Despite the power of this approach, obtaining commercially fluorescent cancer cell lines is expensive and limited in the range of cell lines that are available. To overcome this barrier, we developed an inexpensive method using a lentiviral construct expressing nuclear localized mKate2 red fluorescent protein to stably label cancer cells. We demonstrate that this method is effective in labeling a wide variety of cell lines, allowing for analyses of different cancers as well as different cell lines of the same type of cancer.



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How to Cite

Lanigan TM, Rasmussen SM, Weber DP, Athukorala KS, Campbell PL, Fox DA, Ruth JH. Real time visualization of cancer cell death, survival and proliferation using fluorochrome-transfected cells in an IncuCyte® imaging system. J Biol Methods [Internet]. 2020Jun.12 [cited 2022Aug.11];7(2):e133. Available from: