Mass-producible microporous silicon membranes for specific leukocyte subset isolation, immunophenotyping, and personalized immunomodulatory drug screening in vitro†
Widespread commercial and clinical adaptation of biomedical microfluidic technology has been limited in large part due to the lack of mass producibility of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and glass-based devices commonly as reported in the literature. Here, we present a batch-fabricated, robust, and mass-producible immunophenotyping microfluidic device using silicon micromachining processes. Our Si and glass-based microfluidic device, named the silicon microfluidic immunophenotyping assay (SiMIPA), consists of a highly porous (∼40%) silicon membrane that can selectively separate microparticles below a certain size threshold. The device is capable of isolating and stimulating specific leukocyte populations, and allows for measuring their secretion of cell signaling proteins by means of a no-wash homogeneous chemiluminescence-based immunoassay. The high manufacturing throughput (∼170 devices per wafer) makes a large quantity of SiMIPA chips readily available for clinically relevant applications, which normally require large dataset acquisitions for statistical accuracy. With 30 SiMIPA chips, we performed in vitro immunomodulatory drug screening on isolated leukocyte subsets, yielding 5 data points at 6 drug concentrations. Furthermore, the excellent structural integrity of the device allowed for samples and reagents to be loaded using a micropipette, greatly simplifying the experimental protocol.