Immunomagnetic T cell capture from blood for PCR analysis using microfluidic systems
A one-step immunomagnetic separation technique was performed on a microfluidic platform for the isolation of specific cells from blood samples. The cell isolation and purification studies targeted T cells, as a model for low abundance cells (about 1∶10,000 cells), with more dilute cells as the ultimate goal. T cells were successfully separated on-chip from human blood and from reconstituted blood samples. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis of the captured cells was used to characterize the efficiency of T cell capture in a variety of flow path designs. Employing many (4–8), 50 µm deep narrow channels, with the same overall cross section as a single, 3 mm wide channel, was much more effective in structuring dense enough magnetic bead beds to trap cells in a flowing stream. The use of 8-multiple bifurcated flow paths increased capture efficiencies from ∼20 up to 37%, when compared to a straight 8-way split design, indicating the value of ensuring uniform flow distribution into each channel in a flow manifold for effective cell capture. Sample flow rates of up to 3 µL min−1 were evaluated in these capture beds.