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Annu Rev Biomed Eng. 2005;7:77-103.


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  • 1BioMEMS Resource Center, Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgical Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Shriners Hospital for Children, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Accurate, fast, and affordable analysis of the cellular component of blood is of prime interest for medicine and research. Yet, most often sample preparation procedures for blood analysis involve handling steps prone to introducing artifacts, whereas analysis methods commonly require skilled technicians and well-equipped, expensive laboratories. Developing more gentle protocols and affordable instruments for specific blood analysis tasks is becoming possible through the recent progress in the area of microfluidics and lab-on-a-chip-type devices. Precise control over the cell microenvironment during separation procedures and the ability to scale down the analysis to very small volumes of blood are among the most attractive capabilities of the new approaches. Here we review some of the emerging principles for manipulating blood cells at microscale and promising high-throughput approaches to blood cell separation using microdevices. Examples of specific single-purpose devices are described together with integration strategies for blood cell separation and analysis modules.

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