Wednesday, 04 September 2013 12:26

New cell-sorting method: Non-Inertial Lift Induced Cell Sorting (NILICS) Featured

A research team led by the biophysicist Prof. Thomas Franke from the Institute for Experimental Physics I at the University of Augsburg has presented a new cell-sorting method that enables cell sorting without previous marking of a cell fraction.

According to a press release, “Non-Inertial Lift Induced Cell Sorting” (NILICS) is based on the observation that particles on the scale of a few microns behave differently in fluid currents than daily experience would lead one to think. In capillaries of this size, there is no turbulence within the current, but rather a highly symmetrical flow profile, in which the individual liquid layers flow alongside each other without mingling. If this symmetric flow is disturbed by an deformable object such as a cell in the vicinity of a capillary wall, the flow system seeks to balance itself again.

This process can be measured and evaluated. Cells could thus be separated from one other according to their different behaviour in a microscopic channel without scientists first having previously to conduct an elaborate and expensive marking procedure.

The scientists have tested their method for effectiveness using circulating tumour cells from a solution of red blood cells: They succeeded in separating up to 100 percent of the tumour cells out of the sample. The cells are still fully viable after separation and can be bred and used in subsequent experiments.

Information about the procedure can be found in the latest issue of the journal “Biomicrofluidics”.

Thomas M. Geislinger and Thomas Franke, sorting of circulating tumor cells (MV3 melanoma) and red blood cells using non - inertial lift, Biomicrofluidics 7, 044120 ( 2013).