Flow Cytometry : Advantages of using Microfluidics
Positive aspects about Flow Cytometer based on Microfluidics:
1. To have a high purity and recovery for the sorted cell population.
2. To sort based on an intracellular characteristic in which magnetic beads would not have access.
3. To sort cell labelled with fluorescent probes for nuclear or other intracellular targets.
4. To have information about cell surface molecules.
5. To sort different receptors even if they are low in density.
6. To sort cells according to absence, density or presence of the receptors.
Flow Cytometry using Microfluidics
Flow cytometry is a laser-based technology used in cell counting, cell sorting, biomarker detection or protein engineering.
By suspending cells and passing these suspending cells by passing them using an electronic detection machine, flow cytometry is done.
This technique allows making simultaneous analysis of the different characteristics of the more than a thousand particles per second.
This technique is usually used in the diagnosis of health disorders, in most of the cases blood cancers, but it is used in many medical trials, such as to sort particles according to their properties or purify populations of interest.
Microfluidic Application: Organ-on-a-Chip
Advantages of Organ-on-a-chip with microfluidics:
1. 3-D tissue structures look like actual organ physiology.
2. They provide better simulation, which means it is more accurate.
3. For scientist, they can watch the chips in real time and in high resolution.
4. Early effectiveness and safety identification.
Microfluidic Manufacturing Technique: CNC Micromachining
CNC Micromachining is defined as the removal of material at micro level.
During the last year the interest over the micro machining technology has increased.
Due to this, every manufacturing and industry segment has started to work, segments such as aerospace, automotive world or medical appliances.
Even , nowadays, there are still several technical challenges the potential for product miniaturization continues to grow.
The micromachining technologies involves to work with features smaller than 0,001”, that is why, it is necessary to work with accuracy in the 0,0001” or less range, using always cutters smaller than 1/8 or about 3mm. It takes significant speed to effectively use such small-diameter tools, and the machines have to be, as said before, very accurate.
Taking into account the microfluidic field of technology, we can say that micromachining can be used in this field, because recent developments in microfabrication enables the integration of hard and soft structures, making possible to control the microfluidic systems structures. This structures can be applied to drug delivery.
Moreover, there is a manufacturing method which involves laser micromachining for the structure of microfluidic channels in a thin metallic sheet.
It is important to say that some polymers are better to use over silicone when building microfluidic devices because they have biocompatible properties as well as cheapness. Also, using micromachining it is possible to make fewer processing steps than using the conventional way.
Microfluidic Event in Germany
During three days in November, from 14 to 17 November, we have been part of the most important trade fair for In-Patient and out-patient Medicine in the city of Düsseldorf (Germany), MEDICA 2016.
Medica is the most attractive fair for the people who are working in the Health Care industry. There have been more than 130,000 visitors from over 120 countries, having the chance to take part in numerous special events, such as international conferences and forums.
Moreover Medica is the focus of the worldwide medical trade, and it has the largest and most comprehensive product display.
Microfluidics is a technology which has a big presence in the fair, as many of the solutions offered to the market in Diagnostics – IVD Market are based on it.
The trade fair we have been attending has more than 5.000 exhibitors from all around the world, with more than 19 halls on the exhibit area.
Furthermore, it is important to know that more than 500 of the exhibitors where from the United States of America and Canada.
Two members of our company have been attending the Medica world trade fair, having different meetings. As visitors, you are able to contact many companies in the Medical Device and Diagnostics in order to expand our business portfolio.
Microfluidics Application: Organ-on-a-Chip
Organ on a Chip is a type of artificial organ which simulates the activities, mechanics and physiological response of the entire organs and organ systems.
Moreover, it is a flexible polymer multi-channel 3-D microfluidic cell culture chip, and the union of lab -on-chips and cell biology has enabled the study of human physiology in an organic-specific context.
These types of chips are used to potentially accelerate drug discovery, reduce drug-development costs, to create a future of personalized medicine to treat a wide variety of diseases, such as cancer, pulmonary thrombosis and asthma.
Furthermore, these type of microchips are much more realistic models of the human body comparing with the flat layers of cells grown in petri dishes.
Microfluidics Application: Cell Sorting
Cell sorting consists on separating cell according to their properties.
These properties are of different types, such as intracellular (inside the cell) or extracellular (outside the cell).
The properties worked in this type of separations include DNA, RNA, protein molecule, morphology, size or shape.
Furthermore, there are some different types of cell sorting.
There are two main types when cell sorting. As said before, these techniques, that are called flow cytometry and magnetic bead separation, are used to separate cells into different population.
The biggest difference between these two methods is that flow cytometry sorts cells one by one, while magnetic bead separation works on all cells at once. Although both methods are efficient, it is better to know their relative strenths and weaknesses to choose among them.
The importance of cell sorting:
As known, cells are basic structural and functional unit of all living organism, that is why the ability to isolate and sort different cell types within organs and tissues has led to many established principles in medicine and physiology.
On one hand, and taking into account the research field, the ability to separate cells into distinct populations enables the study of individual cell types isolated form the heterogeneous population without contamination from other cell types. This technology enables research in areas as varied as regenerative medicine, cancer therapy and HIV pathogenesis.
Moreover, in terms of clinical usage, it is possible to introduce the enriched cell populations to a patient who has a clinical need for those cells, and it also enables the enumeration of cells within an individual’s blood system ad can help on the repopulation of the immune system.
Molecularly Imprinted Polymer – MIPs and Microfluidics
As mentioned before, using MIPs have several advantages, but if MIPs and microfluidics are worked together, they have even more positive points.
To start with, the materials used in microfluidic platforms are more or less inert, transparent and, moreover, they are not toxic.
This allows to work with all kinds of analytical techniques.
In addition, valves can be implemented in the microfluidic device, and this action allows the directed flows into certain areas of the chip.
Furthermore, the main advantage of inserting MIPs into microfluidic devices is that minuscule channels reduce diffusion form a solution to the imprinted surface.
This reduction brings a significant reduction of response timers for sensors or an increase of throughput for separations.
MIPs Applications and Microfluidics
The main applications of MIP’s are in the area of sensors and separation.
Moreover, as MIPs are fast and cost-effective, it is mostly used in the fields of chemistry, biology and engineering.
Due to the specific binding site created in a MIP this technique is showing promise in analytical chemistry as a useful method for solid phase extraction.
According to the effectiveness of the MIPs and as it is a cheaper and easier production of antibody/enzymes, it is nowadays used in the medical research and application, applications such as Controlled release drugs, drug monitoring devices and mimetic biological receptor .
Speaking about the advantages of MIP’s, they offer many advantages over protein binding sites. Proteins are difficult and expensive to purify, denature and are difficult to immobilize for reuse.
Synthetic polymers are cheap, easy to synthesize, and allow the elaboration of synthetic side chains to be incorporated.
Microfluidic Application: Molecularly Imprinted Polymer – MIPs
In a Molecular imprinting process, functional monomers are selected to allow self-assemble around a template molecule and subsequently polymerized in the presence of a cross linker.
Together with it, molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) is a polymer that has a «memory» of the shape and the functional groups of a template molecule.
The aim of this material is to recognize selectively the template molecule used in the imprinting process, and to act as an antibody. High molecular recognition properties can be achieved with these MIPs for a variety of molecules.
Saying it in a simpler way, Molecular imprinting is making an artificial tiny lock for a specific molecule that serves as miniature key. In addition, there are two main ways and methods for creating these molecularly imprinted Polymers:
This method is a powerful technique to create nano-structures using predesigned compositions. It is based on the combination of compound molecules by different forces. Moreover, it allows the molecular interactions to form the cross-linked polymer
2. Covalently linking:
This second method which is used, as well as the first method, for the MIP’s formation, involves covalently linking the imprint molecule and the monomer. Once the polymerization is done, the monomer is separated from the template molecule.