Inhibition of clot formation in deterministic lateral displacement arrays for processing large volumes of blood for rare cell capture
Microfluidic deterministic lateral displacement (DLD) arrays have been applied for fractionation and analysis of cells in quantities of ~100 μL of blood, with processing of larger quantities limited by clogging in the chip. In this paper, we (i) demonstrate that this clogging phenomenon is due to conventional platelet-driven clot formation, (ii) identify and inhibit the two dominant biological mechanisms driving this process, and (iii) characterize how further reductions in clot formation can be achieved through higher flow rates and blood dilution. Following from these three advances, we demonstrate processing of 14 mL equivalent volume of undiluted whole blood through a single DLD array in 38 minutes to harvest PC3 cancer cells with ~86% yield. It is possible to fit more than 10 such DLD arrays on a single chip, which would then provide the capability to process well over 100 mL of undiluted whole blood on a single chip in less than one hour.