Live cell imaging is an area of research which has received considerable attention in recent years. The biomedical research community is undergoing a paradigm shift from study of the static, equilibrium properties of isolated macromolecules towards the analysis of the dynamic, non-equilibrium properties of cells and tissues as aggregate assemblies of macromolecules within the specific context of disease states. Thus, a growing area of study involves the measurement of phenomena within the cellular context. A new field, Systems Biology, has emerged with the intent of providing a modeling context within which the vast biological data concerning structure and function can be embedded, with the goal being to provide a framework for developing a more complete understanding of the interconnectedness of biological pathways.
Although there are several quantitative methods for molecular analysis which act on isolated biological macromolecules (e.g., MALDI, DNA microarray analysis, etc.), there are far fewer techniques that can be used to analyze cellular components in the native state (i.e., in a living cell). The Large Scale Digital Cell Analysis System (LSDCAS) project was designed precisely to address these problems within a collaborative research model, particularly in the area of cancer research. The general philosophy behind this research tool is to provide a customized development system for furthering novel technologies in live cell imaging and to thus provide new research tools for the biomedical research community.