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Micromagnetic Cancer Cell Immobilization and Release for Real-Time Single Cell Analysis


Understanding the interaction of live cells with macromolecules is crucial for designing efficient therapies. Considering the functional heterogeneity found in cancer cells, real-time single cell analysis is necessary to characterize responses. In this study, we have designed and fabricated a microfluidic channel with patterned micromagnets which can temporarily immobilize the cells during analysis and release them after measurements. The microchannel is composed of plain coverslip top and bottom panels to facilitate easy microscopic observation and undisturbed application of analytes to the cells. Cells labeled with functionalized magnetic beads were immobilized in the device with an efficiency of 90.8±3.6%. Since the micromagnets are made of soft magnetic material (Ni), they released cells when external magnetic field was turned off from the channel. This allows the reuse of the channel for a new sample. As a model drug analysis, the immobilized breast cancer cells (MCF7) were exposed to fluorescent lipid nanoparticles and association and dissociation were measured through fluorescence analysis. Two concentrations of nanoparticles, 0.06 µg/ml and 0.08 µg/ml were tested and time lapse images were recorded and analyzed. The microfluidic device was able to provide a microenvironment for sample analysis, making it an efficient platform for real-time analysis.