Avoiding cell stress
According to Brags, the electroporation method used up to now is very aggressive. Firstly, an enzyme must be added to detach the cells adhered to the bottom of the culture plate. Then they must be transferred to a special cuvette with electrodes where the electrical discharge is applied. Lastly, the cells must then be returned to the plate. All this combined causes stress in the cells and only a fraction survives. This translates into significant losses.
"We have developed a small plate in the shape of a disk. In its lower face it contains a collection of electrodes that allow for high output electroporation. The devices are made to match the size of the plate containing the cultures, the most common being a centimetre in diameter."
Ramn Brags explains that the added value of the device is that it allows the electroporation in the recipient in which cell culture is already taking place without the need for them to be extracted. This usually occurs in Petri dishes or multiwell plates. The device incorporates microseparations that ensure that the disk is situated some 10 microns apart. Therefore, without touching or crushing the cells the discharge is performed under 20 volts and then removed.
"We initially thought of developing a device with microelectronic technology but we managed to do it with printed circuit technology, which is much cheaper. Each disk ends up costing less than one Euro per unit, which is very competitive compared to current devices that go from one Euro to 100 euros per unit," points out the researcher.
In addition, Brags points out that the low cost of the new devices means that laboratories can use them on a single use basis. This eliminates cultu
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology