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Cytometry A. 2014 May;85(5):434-53. doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.22454. Epub 2014 Mar 13.

International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry cell sorter biosafety standards.

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Flow Cytometry Section, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.


Flow cytometric cell sorting of biological specimens has become prevalent in basic and clinical research laboratories. These specimens may contain known or unknown infectious agents, necessitating precautions to protect instrument operators and the environment from biohazards arising from the use of sorters. To this end the International Society of Analytical Cytology (ISAC) was proactive in establishing biosafety guidelines in 1997 (Schmid et al., Cytometry 1997;28:99-117) and subsequently published revised biosafety standards for cell sorting of unfixed samples in 2007 (Schmid et al., Cytometry Part A J Int Soc Anal Cytol 2007;71A:414-437). Since their publication, these documents have become recognized worldwide as the standard of practice and safety precautions for laboratories performing cell sorting experiments. However, the field of cytometry has progressed since 2007, and the document requires an update. The new Standards provides guidance: (1) for laboratory design for cell sorter laboratories; (2) for the creation of laboratory or instrument specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOP); and (3) on procedures for the safe operation of cell sorters, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and validation of aerosol containment.


aerosol containment; biohazards; biosafety; cell sorting; flow cytometry; occupational health

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