Cell Separation and Sorting


With a variety of advantages, the advent of microfluidic chips has brought cell separation and sorting more possibilities. With years of experience focusing on microfluidic chip development, Creative Biolabs is capable of offering the highest standard microfluidic chip to help our customers tackling difficulties in cell separation and sorting.

Introduction of Microfluidic Cell Separation

Microfluidic technologies for cell separation in the biomedical field are booming in the recent 15 years. Benefitted from the microscale features approaching a single cell, microfluidic cell sorting devices have shown many attractive advantages compared to their forerunners (e.g., fluorescence-assisted cell sorting (FACS) and magnetic-assisted cell sorting (MACS)). With the advance in diagnostic and therapeutic medicine for point-of-care tests, the need for cell separation has been greatly expanded nowadays. In this context, microfluidic-based cell separation and cell sorting technologies have shown excellent performance.

Cell Separation and Sorting

Microfluidic-based Cancer Cell Separation

Microfluidic devices capable of measuring cellular biophysical properties can also prove useful for cancer cell detection. A few microfluidic devices have been developed to measure single-cell mechanical and/or electrical properties, enabling the discrimination of normal cells from malignant counterparts. For example, researchers developed a microfluidic optical stretcher for cancer cell mechanical characterization, indicating that cells with higher metastatic potentials (e.g., Mod-MCF-7) deformed more than normal cells (e.g., MCF-10). Furthermore, another group reported a microfluidic system for cell-type classification using both mechanical and electrical parameters of cells, demonstrating that electrical and mechanical parameters, when used in combination, can provide a higher cell classification success rate in distinguishing EMT6 (murine breast cancer cell lines) from its multi-drug resistant counterpart EMT6/AR1.0.85.

Microfluidic devices for electrical and mechanical property characterization of cancer cells. Fig.1 Microfluidic devices for electrical and mechanical property characterization of cancer cells. (Chen, 2012)

Magnetic Activated Micro-cell Sorters

Magnetic activated cell sorting relies on the interaction between cell surface antigens and antibodies conjugated to suspended magnetic particles. Magnetic bead-based techniques readily permit the manipulation of captured cancer cells using local magnetic fields. Multi-functional, integrated microfluidic devices capable of cancer cell separation, cell lysis, and genetic identification were reported. This platform consisted of an incubation module where target cancer cells are selectively captured onto functionalized magnetic beads, a control module for sample transportation, and a nucleic acid amplification module for cell lysis and genetic identification. Cancer cells (e.g., lung and ovarian carcinoma) were spiked into whole blood samples and loaded into the incubation chamber with pre-loaded magnetic beads coated with monoclonal antibodies. The cancer cells were specifically immobilized onto the surface of the magnetic beads with a recovery rate higher than 90%. The purified magnetic complexes were subsequently resuspended and transported to the cell lysis/reverse transcription chamber where the expressed genes associated with ovarian and lung cancer cells were successfully amplified.

Services at Creative Biolabs

Creative Biolabs has developed a comprehensive technology platform that is dedicated to developing and designing the microfluidic chip. We are confident in providing our customers with the highest standard microfluidic chip. We also provide microfluidic chip development services to meet customers’ different requirements. If you are looking for a better solution for cell sorting or separation, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.


  1. Chen, J.; et al. Microfluidic approaches for cancer cell detection, characterization, and separation. Lab Chip. 2012, 12(10): 1753-67.

For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.

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