Individual Cell to be analyzed with Microfluidic Chip

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Researchers devised a microfluidics-based chip to analyze individual cells through dielectrophoresis.

Cells might differ individually from the group they reside in, this may lead to a relapse in some diseases such as cancer and tuberculosis. Therefore molecular analysis of individual cells becomes increasingly important to understand the role of cell in the growth of diseases and also to develop effective therapies for the disease.

Existing methods of cell analysis used a lot of sample volume and were expensive and extensively lengthy and complex. Additionally, the results were inaccurate and carried a high risk of contamination. A team of researchers from the University of Washington (USA), Iowa State University (USA), and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (USA), developed a microchip using microfluidic technology to check the existing problems. The new technique uses the universal solvent, water and doesn’t require marking methods.

The innovative microfluidic chip is designed in the shape of a coin with two microchannels (50 μm deep x 35 μm wide x 3.2 cm long)  aligned parallel to one another and connected with many perforated chambers. The sample is put in the microchannel when an alternating voltage is applied and a buffer fills the chambers and channels. The chambers are of the same size as the cells, thus each chambers holds one cells in the entrance. The cells are washed with solvents and then treated with oil, letting the cells to dissolve and release its nucleic acids. The marker gene identifies the leukemia cells in the chambers.

The researchers aims to use the microfluidic chips in determining the distribution of genetic mutations that are related to leukemia cells in the near future.

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