- Why was a microfluidic chip-based cell sorter developed?
- Conventional flow cytometers/cell sorters have fixed flow paths. Due to the fixed flow path, it is necessary to clean the flow path between measurements. This is a time-consuming process and has risk of sample-to-sample cross-contamination. The cell sorting process on conventional cell sorters produces a large number of droplets at high speed, and droplets that contain cells that meet the sorting criteria are electrostatically charged in which they can be deflected and collected. This sorting process has been observed to be cell damaging and has deleterious effect on the cells. In addition, conventional cell sorters require a skilled operator to manually align and tweak the system prior to running samples.
To solve the problems found on conventional cell sorters, we developed our microfluidic chip-based cell sorter, On-chip Sort. The disposable and exchangeable micro flow path chip eliminates the need for micro-channel cleaning and is free of contamination. The unique cell sorting mechanism has eliminated all the damaging steps involved in cell sorting found on conventional cell sorters. On-chip Sort does not have any complicated set up which requires the operation of a skilled operator.
Our microfluidic chips are realized by the Japanese advanced precision mold and micro-injection technologies.
For the features of our technology, please visit our Sorting technology page.
- Why is there no damage to cells post-sorting on On-chip Sort?
- On-chip Sort employs a unique sorting mechanism. Unlike conventional cell sorting methods, our mechanism does not involve generating droplets, electric charges to deflect droplets and high-speed collision during collection. The pressure used on On-chip Sort during the sorting process is only 0.3 psi, approximately 1/100 of that used in conventional cell sorters. On-chip Sort allows the use of any sheath fluid compatible to your cells, ensuring your cells are kept in the optimum conditions during sorting.
- Which types of cells are damage-free post-sorting on On-chip Sort?
- We have proven that there is almost no damage to cell lines, nerve cells, or iPS-derived nerve cells. For more information, see Applications page.
- What is the advantage of using a disposable microfluidic chip?
- The use of disposable microfluidic chips eliminates sample cross-contamination and allows handling of infectious and biohazardous samples that are difficult to handle with conventional flow cytometers/cell sorters.
- Does On-chip Sort create aerosols during cell sorting?
- On-chip Sort does not produce aerosols during sorting, hence it is ideal for handling biohazardous samples and complying with strict safety regulations.
- Does On-chip Sort support sorting in sterile conditions?
- Sterile microfluidic chips are available. In addition, On-chip Sort is compact enough to fit inside a biosafety cabinet ensuring aseptic operation.
- Is On-chip Sort difficult to operate?
- On-chip does not have any maintenance and the operation is very easy, so the users who have never used a flow cytometer/cell sorter can easily operate it.
- What does it mean by ‘maintenance-free’ for On-chip Sort?
- The most troublesome step in maintenance of the flow cytometer/cell sorter is the cleaning of the tubes (flow path system), which usually requires cleaning before and after use, and regular full cleaning (about once a week). In the case of On-chip Sort, since the flow path system is disposable and exchangeable, no cleaning or washing is required. Also, no regular maintenance is required.
- What cell size can On-chip Sort handle?
- On-chip Sort is capable of handling cells/particles sized between 0.5 µm to 140 µm. This is because two types of microfluidic chips are available, with microfluidic channel sized 80 x 80 µm, and 150 x 150 µm.
- Which sheath fluid can be used?
- Any sheath fluid of your choice can be used (e.g., culture medium, sea water, fresh water, oil etc.). Please note that solutions that contain organic solvents cannot be used on the microfluidic chips.
- Can On-chip Sort detect and collect circulating tumor cells (CTCs)? How many CTCs can be collected?
- CTCs can be detected and collected by On-chip Sort. The microfluidic chip on On-chip Sort has a limited sample loading capacity. Typically, 4 mL of whole blood is used as a starting material and the blood is pre-treated to remove CD45-positive blood cells. CTCs are detected and sorted using epithelial cell markers. Cytokeratin and EpCAM are commonly used as epithelial markers, but their expression may be reduced by CTCs without their expression or by epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). The CTC capture limit on On-chip Sort is 1.4 ± 0.2 in 4 mL whole blood.
- Does the material on the disposable chip cause reduced sensitivity in detection?
- Our microfluidic chips are made of Cyclic Olefin Polymer (COP). The sensitivity could be slightly lower than that of conventional cell sorters. However, as COP with high transparency to laser is used, fluorescence sensitivity of less than FITC 200 MESF is realized. Therefore, there is no problem for use in standard cell sorting.
- What types of lasers can be installed on On-chip Sort?
- Up to three lasers can be installed on On-chip Sort. Blue (488 nm) is required for light scattering, and up to two from red (637 nm), violet (405 nm) and green (561 nm) lasers, can be added.
- How many fluorescent colors can be detected?
- Up to six fluorescent colors can be detected on On-chip Sort. For more details, see sorter page.
- What are the maximum detection and sorting speed?
- Maximum detection speed is 4,000 events/sec and maximum sorting speed is 1,000 events/sec.
- What is the yield and purity of sorted cells?
- Yield is >98% and purity is 80%, however, these are dependent of cell concentration and sorting conditions.
- Can the data exported on On-chip Sort’s software be analyzed with other commercially available software such as FlowJo?
- Yes, data recorded on On-chip Sort’s software can be exported and analyzed on FlowJo, as well as On-chip’s software.