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Microfluidic device allows collection, analysis of hard-to-handle immune cells
Date:8/30/2010

a neutrophil-rich sample from microliter-sized blood samples in less than 5 minutes, reducing the risk of disturbing cells in the process. To meet the requirements for speed and precision, the researchers completely redesigned the geometry, antibody-based coating and other aspects of the cell-capture module at the heart of the device. The samples collected were successful in revealing differences in gene and protein activity relevant to the cells' activation status.

While the laboratory tests were encouraging, samples from critically injured patients need to be handled and processed in real-world clinical environments. Through the efforts of study co-author Lyle Moldawer, PhD, of the University of Florida College of Medicine, the devices were tested at six sites participating in a major National Institutes of Health-sponsored study of the immune response to injury, led by Ronald Tompkins, MD, ScD, chief of the MGH Burns Service and also a study co-author. Analyzing samples from 26 patients with serious burns or other traumatic injuries revealed complex gene expression patterns that shifted during the 28 days after injury, probably reflecting complex interactions between various immune system components.

Kotz says, "Until now, it's been logistically impossible to study neutrophils to the extent we have in this paper." He notes that their analysis of neutrophil samples from trauma patients is the largest such investigation to date and adds, "This technology which is much faster and gentler than current approaches to isolating cells can be scaled and modified to capture just about any cell type, and we're working to apply it to other cell-based assays."


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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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