A bioluminescent HL-60 cell line to assay anti-leukaemia therapeutics under physiological conditions

Maria P. Isaza, Jennie T. Chau, Amy Le, Nataliya V. Balashova, Jigna K. Patel, Erica Salerno, Juan A. Crosby, Anna O'Connor, Scott C. Kachlany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Screens for compounds and proteins with anti-cancer activity employ viability assays using relevant cancer cell lines. For leukaemia studies, the human leukaemia cell line, HL-60, is often used as a model system. To facilitate the discovery and investigation of anti-leukaemia therapeutics under physiological conditions, we have engineered HL-60 cells that stably express firefly luciferase and produce light that can be detected using an in vivo imaging system (IVIS). Bioluminescent HL-60/uc cells could be rapidly detected in whole blood with a sensitivity of approximately 1000 viable cells/200 μl blood. Treatment of HL-60/uc cells with the drug chlorambucil revealed that the bioluminescent viability assay is able to detect cell death earlier than the Trypan blue dye exclusion assay. HL-60/uc cells administered intraperitoneally (i.p.) or intravenously (i.v.) were visualized in living mice. The rapidity and ease of detecting HL-60/uc cells in biological fluid indicates that this cell line could be used in high-throughput screens for the identification of drugs with anti-leukaemia activity under physiological conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-21
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)


  • Bioluminescence
  • Cancer
  • Drug screen
  • Hematological malignancy
  • Lymphoma


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