18 October 2012

Let's hit the micropallets with cells with ultrasound!

A new technology for sorting living cells for biomedical research has been proposed

Roman Ivanov, ComputerOne of the main tasks of biomedicine is to study how certain cells react to various chemical factors and the environment.

Such cells are most often grown in a liquid medium on the surface of micropallets, which are a set of very small plastic molds that are located on a common substrate at the bottom of the container. The researchers select the cells needed for further study and separate the corresponding micropallets. That's where the difficulties begin...

Today, the procedure for separating micropallets from the substrate (and neighbors) requires the use of a laser or literally physical manipulations. But physical removal is a long and tedious process. And the laser, used most often to isolate large micropallets (about 500 microns in diameter), generates so much energy that it can accidentally kill most of the cells. But things get even worse when it is necessary to separate a lot of large micropallets and do it as quickly as possible.

A new technique developed at the University of North Carolina (USA) suggests using ultrasound to separate micropallets. Precisely focused sound waves of relatively high frequency are translated inside the substrate into pressure waves that strike the selected micropallet from above.

As a result, the fragment is knocked down and can be easily caught and removed along with the cells that have grown in it, as shown in the video (note: the camera is installed from below, and in fact the micropallet does not fly up, but sinks to the bottom – VM).

According to the authors of the method, its use makes it possible to selectively separate micropallets, spending fractions of a second on it (less than a thousandth of a second, to be precise). Although this is somewhat slower than the much less accurate laser technology allows, it is much faster than any physical manipulation. In addition, the survival rate of cells with an ultrasound approach exceeds 90%, which is much better than the indicators of any modern technology, the highest achievement of which is 50% (when separating large micropallets).

Read more about the new technology in the journal Applied Physics Letters:
Guo et al., Ultrasound-induced release of micropallets with cells.

Prepared based on the materials of the University of North Carolina:
New Technique For Sorting Live Cells May Expedite Biomedical Research.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru18.10.2012

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