iQ Biosciences is one of the few providers of X-ray-based irradiation of human and animal cells in the San Francisco Bay Area, offering:

  • Simple online form for quote request with quick response time
  • Customer-determined dosage
  • Flexible scheduling based on availability and usage
  • Easy drop-off and pick-up
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Service Overview

Cell Irradiation

Cell irradiation is the process of subjecting cells to radiation of certain dosages.  To accomplish this, an instrument called an irradiator is used to expose cells to radiation, which can be x-ray or radioactivity based/generated.  The cells are subjected to a certain dosage of radiation as measured by rads or grays in order to affect cellular functions. Depending on the dose, some biological functions are affected while others are not.  For example, cell irradiation can lead to the arrest of proliferation but leave antigen presentation on MHC molecules intact.

Irradiation Service at iQ Biosciences

iQ Biosciences has the CellRad X-Ray Irradiation System on-site and is excited to provide X-Ray-based irradiation as a service to our customers.  To obtain these services, we have provided an online form below for you to provide the following information:

  1. Cell type for irradiation
  2. Number of flasks (of cells) – We recommend a maximum concentration of 10M cells per mL
  3. Size of each flask (e.g., T-75, T-175, etc.)
  4. Total dosage (in Grays or Rads)
  5. Preferred date of service*
  6. Preferred time of service* 
  7. Contact Information (Name, Company, Email, Phone)

*Preferred date and time of service are subject to availability.

Policies and Guidelines

Please be aware of our policies and guidelines for utilizing our irradiation services:

  • Customers must drop cells off at our service location and pick them up at a later time
  • To ensure the confidentiality of our other clients, customers will not be allowed into our lab or building. Cells must be handed off at the building entrance and picked up at the same location once service is complete
  • Service is based on time and the minimum time charged is 0.5 hours
  • Based on scheduling, only 2 time slots are offered per day
  • Cells should be provided in a T-75 to T-175 clear, polystyrene flask at a recommended top concentration of 10 million cells per mL for optimal dosing
  • Cells will be irradiated within the flask provided to iQ
  • Multiple flasks may be provided to iQ and will be factored into the formal quote
  • iQ WILL NOT transfer cells from the flask provided to another enclosure prior to irradiation
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Application Summary for Irradiated cells

Both irradiated human and animal PBMCs are commonly used as antigen presenting cells, stimulation/feeder cells, or target cells in a wide variety of immunology-based applications. At a certain dose, these cells will not divide or respond to stimulus.  However, the antigen presenting cells found in the peripheral blood, such as dendritic cells, macrophages, and B cells, can still present antigenic peptide to stimulate CD4 and CD8 T cells. In these types of co-culture studies that require antigen presentation, peptide is added to the irradiated PBMCs, which then present the peptide to activate T cells in order to produce cytokines, proliferate, and perform cytotoxicity.

Irradiated PBMCs can also be used as stimulator cells in mixed lymphocyte reactions (MLR).  In these type of experiments, the irradiated cells and exogenously added effector cells, which are typically T cells, are of different genetic backgrounds. In particular, they are of different MHC haplotypes.  The effector cells will respond to the difference in the MHC haplotype and begin to produce cytokines, proliferate, and perform cytotoxicity.

Cell lines are also irradiated in order to act as targets for cytotoxicity studies or stimulator/feeder cells to propagate primary cells.  For example, the K562 cell line can be irradiated and used as targets in cytotoxicity experiments with human NK cells. Furthermore, irradiated K562 cells are often used to expand NK cells for research and clinical purposes.

Recently, it has been shown that some immune checkpoint proteins bind ligands that are only expressed after exposure to radiation.  Therefore, irradiated target cell lines which have exposed ligands are used to identify compounds that may interfere with the binding of the ligand to its cognate checkpoint protein. 

In addition, irradiated cells are also frequently used in apoptosis and vascular growth research.  Certain dosages will promote apoptosis while others will inhibit endothelial cell growth, which permits investigators to study these functions. 

Irradiated Primary Cell Products

iQ Biosciences also offers the following irradiated primary cell products for direct purchase:

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The iQ Experience

Tailored Experiments

Your research is important to us. Our scientists will work through each step of the process with you, including assay design, data analysis, and recommendations for future studies.

Streamlined Process

Simplify your workflow. Bypass the middle-man: at iQ Biosciences, you'll get immediate access to our biospecimen inventory, saving you both valuable time and money.


We're experts- so you don't have to be. Augmenting years of experience in immunology and working with immune assays, our scientists stay current with the latest publications and technology.

Exceptional Service

We're here to help. We know the challenges you're facing: whether it be through expedited service or our complimentary consulting services, our team is dedicated to helping you reach your goals.

Order Information


At iQ Biosciences, we understand that each client is unique. Upon quote request, we will provide complimentary consulting services to determine how to tailor our services to best meet your goals. Based on this preliminary assessment, we will be able to provide a price quote.

Expected Timetable

Fit a timetable appropriate to your research goals. We work with you to determine your expected turn-around on a case-by-case basis and ensure that our services fit your needs. Some experiments may require an expedited service – please inquire for more information.