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High-throughput size-based rare cell enrichment using microscale vortices
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Cell isolation in designated regions or from heterogeneous samples is often required for many microfluidic cell-based assays. However, current techniques have either limited throughput or are incapable of viable off-chip collection. We present an innovative approach, allowing high-throughput and label-free cell isolation and enrichment from heterogeneous solution using cell size as a biomarker. The approach utilizes the irreversible migration of particles into microscale vortices, developed in parallel expansion-contraction trapping reservoirs, as the cell isolation mechanism. We empirically determined the critical particle/cell diameter and the operational flow rate above which trapping of cells/particles in microvortices is initiated. Using this approach we successfully separated larger cancercells spiked in blood from the smaller blood cells with processing rates as high as . Viable long-term culture was established using cells collected off-chip, suggesting that the proposed technique would be useful for clinical and research applications in which in vitro culture is often desired. The presented technology improves on current technology by enriching cells based on size without clogging mechanical filters, employing only a simple single-layered microfluidic device and processing cell solutions at the ml/min scale.
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