Absorbance Progenitor Cell Assays for
Cellular Therapy 


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Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell Assay Replacement for the CFU Assay

To learn how to setup and use HemoLIGHT™ PCA, click on the video links below:

How to Perform a Progenitor Cell Assay (PCA) - An Alternative to All Methylcellulose CFU Assays


  • Determine the number of viable cells in proliferation.
  • An alternative to, or replacement for the classic colony-forming unit (CFU) assay.
  • FDA, FACT and AABB alternative assays. 
  • Replaces the CFU assay with an instrument-based, quantitative assay.
  • No colony counting required.
  • Uses an absorbance ELISA plate reader available in most laboratories.
  • Incorporates the same growth factor cocktails used in MethoCult® reagents for direct assay-to-assay comparisons and correlation.
  • Non-subjective, instrument-based and quantitative assay system.
  • Results in 7 days depending.
  • Faster and easier to use than any traditional CFU assay, even using automated colony counting.
  • Simple, time efficient, flexible and more cost effective than methylcellulose CFU assays.
  • Complete assay kit; includes everything needed to culture and obtain results.
  • Incorporates proven Suspension Expansion Culture™ (SEC™) Technology.

Principle of HemoLIGHT PCA Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell Assays Using an Absorbance / Colorimetric Readout

The table below shows the HemoLIGHT™ PCA assays that can replace any methlcellulose, colony-forming unit (CFU) reagent from any competitor. PLEASE NOTE that HemoLIGHT™ PCA incorporates Suspension Expansion Culture™ (SEC™) Technology to replace dispensing error-prone methylcellulose with reagents that use normal pipettes.
Cell Population
Equivalent CFU Cell Population Equivalent MethoCult™
Growth Factor Cocktail
PCA1 SC-GEM 2 CFC-GEM 2 H4434 "Classic" EPO, GM-CSF, IL-3, SCF
PCA2 SC-GEM 3 CFC-GEM 3 H4034 "Optimum" EPO, GM-CSF, G-CSF, IL-3, SCF
PCA3 P-GM 1 GM-CFC 1 H4534 "Classic" GM-CSF, IL-3, SCF
PCA4 P-GM 2 GM-CFC 2 H4035 "Optimum" GM-CSF, G-CSF, IL-3, SCF
PCA5 SC-GEMM 3 CFC-GEMM 3 H4435 "Enriched" EPO, GM-CSF, G-CSF, IL-3, IL-6, SCF TPO(#)
PCA6 SC-GEMM CFC-GEMM Methocult "Express" Recombinant cytokines EPO

(#) denotes that the Preferred Cell Systems™ formulation of this product includes TPO that stimulates the production of megakaryopoiesis. MethoCult™ and other competitor formulations of this specific product do not include TPO, do not stimulate the production of megakaryocytes and therefore do not detect the CFC-GEMM stem cell population.

*denotes that assay kits are available with 1, 2 or 4, 96-well plates

  • Incorporates a terazolium WST-1 reagent that is reduced to a soluble yellow formazan, which can be measured at an maximum absorbance of 440nm (420nm to 480nm) in an absorbance plate reader.
  • After culture, add 10μl of the WST-1 reagent, mix and read absorbance at 440nm after 1-4 hours in a 96-well plate reader. Plates can be returned to incubator and re-read at a later time for increased sensitivity.
  • No solubilization step as in a MTT reaction. Replaces MTT assays.
  • Mobilized peripheral blood
  • Umbilical cord blood
  • Bone marrow
  • Purified cell populations for any of the above tissues
  1. Standardization of the CFU-GM assay using hematopoietic growth factors. J. Hematotherapy:6:191-192 (1997)
  2. Development of a novel assay to evaluate the functional potential of umbilical cord blood progenitors. Transfusion. 48:620-628 (2008).
  3. Potency, Proliferation and Engraftment Potential of Stem Cell Therapeutics: The Relationship between Potency and Clinical Outcome for Hematopoietic Stem Cell Products. J Cell Sci Therapy. (2013).
  4. Detecting primitive hematopoietic stem cells in total nucleated and mononuclear cell fractions from umbilical cord blood segments and units. J Translational Medicine 13:94 (2015)
  5. Improving quality and potency testing for umbilical cord blood: A New Perspective. Stem Cells Translational Medicine. 4:967-973 (2015)
  6. Hematopoietic stem cell potency for cellular therapeutic transplantation. In: Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Ed. Rosana P. Camacho. Published by: InTech Open Access Publisher. ISBN 978-953-307-746-8. (2011).
  7. Measuring the Potency of a Stem Cell Therapeutic. In: Stem Cell Protocols. Methods in Molecular Biology, 1235, Ed. Rich IN. Published by Human Press (2015).
  8. Bioluminescence Potency Measurement of Cellular Therapy Products. In: Cellular Therapy: Principles, Methods, and Regulations, 2nd Edition, Eds. Areman EM and Loper K. Published by AABB.
  9. Present Cord Blood Testing Fails to Determine if the Stem Cells Used for Transplantation are of High Quality and PotencyThe Parents Guide to Cord Blood Foundation
  10. The Difference Between Stem Cell Viability and Potency: A Short Guide for Parent and Patients. The Parents Guide to Cord Blood Foundation
For Research Use Only. Not for clinical diagnostic use.
An absorbance or multimode plate reader to measure absorbance at 490nm.
  • HemoLIGHT™ PCA Master Mix
  • WST-1 reagent
  • Sterile, clear, 96-well plate(s)
  • Sterile, adhesive cover foils to maintain sterility of unused wells

QuickGuide to Using HemoLIGHT PCA Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell Assays with an Absorbance / Colorimetric Readout



The HemoLIGHT™ PCA Technical Manual is being updated

When ordering HemoLIGHT™ PCA, simply click on Catalog Number in the table below and you will be taken directly to the desired product.

Cell Population Catalog No. Format MethoCult™ Equivalent
P-GM 1 K4-PCA3-1 Low serum H4534 "Classic"
P-GM 1 K4SF-PCA3-1 Serum-Free H4534 "Classic"
P-GM 2 K4-PCA4-1 Low serum H4035 "Optimal"
P-GM 2 K4SF-PCA4-1 Serum-Free H4035 "Optimal"
SC-GEM 2 K4-PCA1-1 Low serum H4434 "Classic"
SC-GEM 2 K4SF-PCA1-1 Serum-Free H4434 "Classic"
SC-GEM 3 K4-PCA2-1 Low serum H4034 "Optimal"
SC-GEM 3 K4SF-PCA2-1 Serum-Free H4034 "Optimal"
SC-GEMM K4-PCA6-1 Low serum Methocult "Express"
SC-GEMM K4SF-PCA6-1 Serum-Free Methocult "Express"
SC-GEMM 3 K4-PCA5-1 Low serum H4435 "Enriched"
SC-GEMM 3 K4SF-PCA5-1 Serum-Free H4435 "Enriched"