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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Nov 25;105(47):18165-70. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0809795105. Epub 2008 Nov 17.

Multitarget magnetic activated cell sorter.

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Departments of Physics, Mechanical Engineering, and Materials, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5050, USA.


Magnetic selection allows high-throughput sorting of target cells based on surface markers, and it is extensively used in biotechnology for a wide range of applications from in vitro diagnostics to cell-based therapies. However, existing methods can only perform separation based on a single parameter (i.e., the presence or absence of magnetization), and therefore, the simultaneous sorting of multiple targets at high levels of purity, recovery, and throughput remains a challenge. In this work, we present an alternative system, the multitarget magnetic activated cell sorter (MT-MACS), which makes use of microfluidics technology to achieve simultaneous spatially-addressable sorting of multiple target cell types in a continuous-flow manner. We used the MT-MACS device to purify 2 types of target cells, which had been labeled via target-specific affinity reagents with 2 different magnetic tags with distinct saturation magnetization and size. The device was engineered so that the combined effects of the hydrodynamic force produced from the laminar flow and the magnetophoretic force produced from patterned ferromagnetic structures within the microchannel result in the selective purification of the differentially labeled target cells into multiple independent outlets. We demonstrate here the capability to simultaneously sort multiple magnetic tags with >90% purity and >5,000-fold enrichment and multiple bacterial cell types with >90% purity and >500-fold enrichment at a throughput of 10(9) cells per hour.

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