Lab Chip 2011 Aug 28;11(16):2701-10. Epub 2011 Jun 28.
Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, NCSR, Dublin City University, Glasnevin, Dublin, 9, Ireland.
Just as the Petri dish has been invaluable to the evolution of biomedical science in the last 100 years, microfluidic cell assay platforms have the potential to change significantly the way modern biology and clinical science are performed. However, an evolutionary process of creating an efficient microfluidic array for many different bioassays is necessary. Specifically for a complete view of a cell response it is essential to incorporate cytotoxic, protein and gene analysis on a single system. Here we present a novel cellular and molecular analysis platform, which allows access to gene expression, protein immunoassay, and cytotoxicity information in parallel. It is realized by an integrated microfluidic array plate (iMAP). The iMAP enables sample processing of cells, perfusion based cell culture, effective perturbation of biologic molecules or drugs, and simultaneous, real-time optical analysis for different bioassays. The key features of the iMAP design are the interface of on-board gravity driven flow, the open access input fluid exchange and the highly efficient sedimentation based cell capture mechanism (∼100% capture rates). The operation of the device is straightforward (tube and pump free) and capable of handling dilute samples (5-cells per experiment), low reagent volumes (50 nL per reaction), and performing single cell protein and gene expression measurements. We believe that the unique low cell number and triple analysis capabilities of the iMAP platform can enable novel dynamic studies of scarce cells.