Sample-to-analysis platform for rapid intracellular mass spectrometry from small numbers of cells†
Real-time, advanced diagnostics of the biochemical state within cells remains a significant challenge for research and development, production, and application of cell-based therapies. The fundamental biochemical processes and mechanisms of action of such advanced therapies are still largely unknown, including the critical quality attributes that correlate to therapeutic function, performance, and potency and the critical process parameters that impact quality throughout cell therapy manufacturing. An integrated microfluidic platform has been developed for in-line analysis of a small number of cells via direct infusion nano-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Central to this platform is a microfabricated cell processing device that prepares cells from limited sample volumes removed directly from cell culture systems. The sample-to-analysis workflow overcomes the labor intensive, time-consuming, and destructive nature of existing mass spectrometry approaches for analysis of cells. By providing rapid, high-throughput analyses of the intracellular state, this platform enables untargeted discovery of critical quality attributes and their real-time, in-process monitoring.