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Flow Cytometry Laboratory

The SLUCare Flow Cytometry Laboratory offers a wide selection of comprehensive testing processes to provide the Hematopathology Service with the studies necessary to achieve excellence in diagnosis. The service uses state-of-the-art Beckman Coulter Navios EX Flow Cytometers, advanced Kaluza software and maintains more than 60 monoclonal antibodies, making it a major testing resource for the bi-state region. Antibodies employ different fluorescent probes to identify specific patterns of antigen expression. The laboratory offers 10-color flow cytometric analysis for neoplastic testing.

The SLUCare Flow Cytometry Laboratory offers specialized comprehensive studies for a variety of hematopoietic disorders:

  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Lymphocyte T-cell subset evaluations
  • CD34 stem cell enumeration

Hours of Operation

The Flow Cytometry Laboratory is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Routine specimens should be delivered between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday-Friday. Emergency service after hours can be arranged at 314-977-7864.

Contact Us

Telephone: 314-977-7864


Verbal reports are available within 24 to 48 hours. Final written reports will be faxed as soon as they are completed and are available online.

Request for Services

Specimens must be accompanied by a signed requisition and must comply with the labeling requirements of the Saint Louis University Department of Pathology and include a preliminary diagnosis so that the proper analysis will be performed. Samples must be delivered to:

Hematopathology/Flow Cytometry Laboratory
Schwitalla Hall, Room M468
3545 Vista - East of Grand
St. Louis, MO 63104

Specimen Requirements

Peripheral Blood
Peripheral blood samples should be drawn in a sodium heparin or EDTA tube and kept at room temperature (22-28°C) until testing. Between one and eight milliliters of blood is required, depending up on the leukocyte count; a 5-ml sample is normally adequate. Samples should not be refrigerated; they must be stored at room temperature. Samples must be delivered to this laboratory as soon as possible or within 4 hours after collection, using transporters, couriers, or overnight delivery services. Immunology peripheral blood samples received more than 72 hours after collection will be rejected as well as clotted, excessively hemolyzed, refrigerated or frozen specimens. Samples drawn in lithium heparin or ACD are not acceptable. CBC results drawn at the time of the flow specimen should be sent with the requisition.
Bone Marrow
Bone marrow samples should be drawn in a sodium heparinized syringe and transferred to a green top (sodium heparin) tube for transport. The sample must be kept at room temperature until testing. EDTA tubes are acceptable, but they must be less than 4 hours old when received. ACD and lithium heparin are not acceptable. Between 1 and 3 ml of bone marrow is required. Stability, storage, and transport of these samples are the same as that for peripheral blood. CBC results drawn at the time of the flow specimen should be sent with the requisition.
Lymph Node or Fresh Biopsy Tissue
Lymph node or fresh biopsy tissue is acceptable. To ensure that adequate cells are available for flow cytometry, the tissue should be ≥ 1-2 cm square. Smaller samples are acceptable but may limit the number of markers that are able to be performed. The sample should be placed immediately in cold (2-8°C) RPMI media or on cold saline-soaked gauze and transported immediately on ice (not frozen) to the laboratory for testing. Receipt should be within 4 hours. If longer transport or overnight storage is required, the tissue should be kept in cold RPMI media and transported in the RPMI media on wet ice. Samples that have been exposed to fixatives (such as formalin or alcohol) are unacceptable for testing, as are samples that have been previously frozen or are frozen when received.
Body Fluids

Body fluids (pleural, ascites, pericardial, cerebral spinal or CSF) and WASHINGS (fine needle aspirates or lung lavages) are acceptable for flow cytometric analysis if the cell number is sufficient. The minimal volume of sample required is 3 mls; however, depending upon cell number, this volume may not be sufficient for flow cytometric analysis. If the specimen is bloody, sodium heparin may be added to the specimen at collection. The sample should be kept at room temperature and delivered immediately to the laboratory. Receipt should be within 4 hours.

Processed samples of hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) harvests (apheresis, bone marrow) are acceptable for flow cytometric analysis of CD34+ stem cells. Samples should be sent at room temperature within 4 hours after processing.

Download Flow Cytometry Requisition Form

To ensure that all specimens submitted to Flow Cytometry are received in good condition and within the appropriate time for testing, we request clients call the laboratory when a specimen is sent. The laboratory must be contacted if the specimen will arrive after hours or if there is a concern that the delivery of the specimen will not occur in the appropriate time frame.