Single Cell ICP-MS | PerkinElmer

Single Cell ICP-MS

Single cell analysis makes it possible to discover mechanisms not seen when studying a bulk population of cells. Single cell ICP-MS is an emerging technique for the analysis of metabolomic and metal content in individual cells, allowing to monitor:

  • Intrinsic metal content
  • Uptake of metals within a cell
  • Uptake of nanoparticles
  • Number of nanoparticles within a cell

Traditional methods for measuring uptake rates of metals in cells can be a time-consuming process with long instrument analysis and sample preparation time, often leading to qualitative or population-averaged results.

Nexion 2000 AwardThe award-winning NexION® ICP-MS Single Cell Analysis System, with its proprietary Asperon Single Cell Spray Chamber, Single Cell Micro DX Autosampler, and the Syngistix Single Cell Software Module, offers a unique opportunity to quantitatively measure the metal content in individual cells, unveiling new capabilities to study intrinsic metals and the uptake of dissolved (ionic) and nanoparticulate metals into cells, therefore providing new insights into drug delivery, toxicity assessment, bioavailability, and bioaccumulation mechanisms.





Cancer Research

Metallic-based cancer therapy drugs have been in use for several years, the most widely used being platinum-based drugs. The therapeutic effect of cancer treatment is related to the amount of drug that interacts with each individual cancer cell. Traditional drug-research techniques have been limited to cell ensemble measurements, which require homogenization of a given cell population for quantitative analysis. Cell populations are heterogeneous, and differences exist even for cells from the same cell population and cell line.



Single Cell ICP-MS enables you to precisely quantify drug content in individual cells, resulting in a histogram of the population showing not only the most frequent and mean masses of drug in the population but also the distribution throughout the population. It is an invaluable tool to investigate cell resistance to drug therapy and better understand the mobilization/immobilization mechanisms.

Learn more about Single Cell ICP-MS for Cancer Research

Pharmaceuticals/Drug Development

Metals and metal compounds have been used in medicine for several thousands of years. Some are essential for normal function as cofactors or prosthetics in enzymes, some are used in diagnosis as radioisotope imaging or as contrast agents for medical imaging, and others are used for therapeutic purposes. If your research revolves around metals and metal compounds development and use, and you are interested in better understanding the mechanism by which these drugs interact with your targeted cells, Single Cell ICP-MS enables you to precisely quantify the absorbed dose at the cellular level, revealing important mechanistic information.


Ecotoxicology is a multidisciplinary field which integrates toxicology and ecology – it is the study of the effects of toxic chemicals on biological organisms at the population, community, ecosystem, and biosphere levels. Many metals, organometallic compounds and, recently, nanomaterials are studied for their ecotoxicology using biological organisms at the population and community level, missing critical mechanistic information to the absorbed dose and route of exposure at the cellular level. Single Cell ICP-MS enables you to precisely quantify the absorbed dose at the cellular level, revealing important information on the diversity of the biological system. It also enables the quantification of the number of metallic particles up-taken by each individual cell, offering unprecedented information to the absorbed dose.

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