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The Importance of Homogenization in Cancer Research

January 4, 2023
Data for wastewater analysis

Wastewater analysis has increasingly become a way to monitor infectious disease outbreaks, particularly during the SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic. Wastewater testing provides public health officials insight into upcoming increases in disease burden in a community.

The problem is that multiple methodologies are used for wastewater sampling techniques and many of them rely on filtration systems to capture infectious particles on electronegative membranes or tissue culture grade nanopore filters. These methods require long processing times and incubations on ice, which can be a burden to high-throughput workflows.

The two application notes below provide evidence for why mechanical homogenization using bead beating technology offers a better and faster way to ensure complete disruption of these filters for improved downstream molecular analysis.

Cancer research has made tremendous strides in recent years, and a key tool that has played a
critical role in this progress is the homogenizer. A homogenizer is a laboratory instrument that is used
to homogenize, or uniformly mix, biological samples.

Homogenization is a crucial step in cancer research because it allows researchers to extract and
analyze specific components of a tissue or cell sample, such as proteins, nucleic acids, and other
biomolecules. This is important because these components can provide valuable insights into
the underlying mechanisms of cancer and can be used to identify potential targets for therapeutic

There are several different types of homogenizers available, including rotor-stator, ultrasonic, and
bead mill homogenizers. Each type has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages, and the
choice of which one to use will depend on the specific needs of the researcher and the sample being

Rotor-stator homogenizers consist of a fast-spinning inner rotor with a stationary outer sheath
(stator) to homogenize samples through mechanical tearing, shear fluid forces, and / or cavitation
(the rapid forming and collapsing of bubbles). Rotor-stators are broadly capable of homogenizing a
wide variety of tissues or cells.

Ultrasonic homogenizers use high-frequency sound waves to disrupt the sample, and are often used
for harder tissues and cells that are more resistant to mechanical disruption. These homogenizers
are highly efficient and can process large volumes of samples in a short period of time.

Bead mill homogenizers utilize various bead media to homogenize sample with a tube. Several
different types of bead media are available such as metal, glass, ceramic and garnet. The beads
are vigorously shaken to break up tissue and disrupt cells. Bead mills are great for breaking up
tissue and many are high-throughput. Because there are no generator probes used like a rotor-stator
homogenizer, samples are self-contained and there is a reduced opportunity for contamination.

In addition to the type of homogenizer, there are also a number of factors that researchers must
consider when using a homogenizer in cancer research. These include the size of the sample, the
type of tissue or cell being analyzed, and the specific goals of the research project.
Regardless of the type of homogenizer used, it is important that researchers follow proper safety
protocols and handle samples in a sterile environment to ensure the integrity of the results.
Homogenization is a powerful tool in cancer research, and its careful application can yield valuable
insights into the disease and help guide the development of new therapies.

For research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures. 

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