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Cell Migration: probing cell movement with smarter tools. Winter 12

Cell migration comprises the movement of cells from one location to another in response to events, biological signals or environmental cues. Cell migration plays a critical role in numerous normal biological processes and also in many diseases. Most recent commercial activity around cell migration has been directed towards developing tools that facilitate easy access/setup and add greater reproducibility to assays. Researchers wanting to investigate cell migration are now increasingly spoilt for choice. This is reflected not only in the variety of cell culture inserts, stoppers, specialised microplates, microfluidic devices and live cell compatible trackers that are now available to support cell migration, but also by the efforts of instrument manufacturers to make detection, reading, imaging and analysis of fluorescent and unlabelled cells easier in both end point and kinetic motility assays. Many new and innovative assays tools, some of which are reported in this article, not only facilitate the wider investigation of cell migration assays but also contribute to a better understanding of the process by which cells migrate. The latter is expected to play a pivotal role in the development of novel therapeutics strategies and to improving the treatment of a wide range of diseases.