A review of sorting, separation and isolation of cells and microbeads for biomedical applications: microfluidic approaches
Several biomedical analyses are performed on particular types of cells present in body samples or using functionalized microparticles. Success in such analyses depends on the ability to separate or isolate the target cells or microparticles from the rest of the sample. In conventional procedures, multiple pieces of equipment, such as centrifuges, magnets, and macroscale filters, are used for such purposes, which are time-consuming, associated with human error, and require several operational steps. In the past two decades, there has been a tendency to develop microfluidic techniques, so-called lab-on-a-chip, to miniaturize and automate these procedures. The processes used for the separation and isolation of the cells and microparticles are scaled down into a small microfluidic chip, requiring very small amounts of sample. Differences in the physical and biological properties of the target cells from the other components present in the sample are the key to the development of such microfluidic techniques. These techniques are categorized as filtration-, hydrodynamic-, dielectrophoretic-, acoustic- and magnetic-based methods. Here we review the microfluidic techniques developed for sorting, separation, and isolation of cells and microparticles for biomedical applications. The mechanisms behind such techniques are thoroughly explained and the applications in which these techniques have been adopted are reviewed.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Review Articles