Next Generation: Hundreds of Cell-Analyses at Once

The Scientist – A new microfluidics chip lets researchers analyze the nucleic acids of 300 individual cells simultaneously. THE DEVICE: Like a pinball machine, the tiny stationary levers within this new microfluidics chip, direct cells into compartments just large enough to fit one cell. With 300 compartments per chip (a number that could be easily scaled to 1,000 or more), each cell is washed and then lysed, with its contents channeled to a new compartment where real time quantitative PCR begins, reading out the DNA as it’s amplified. Measuring many individual cells at once allows researcher to distinguish individual differences between cells as they react to environmental changes, or to look at genetic changes in the mixed-cell make-up of a tumor. Down the road, the chip could have clinical and diagnostic applications as well. Read article