High-throughput Multiplexed Analysis of Cell Niches Using Flow Cytometry

Technology #7236

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Krishnendu Roy
Faculty Inventor Profile
External Link (bme.gatech.edu)
Kirsten Parratt
Inventor Profile
External Link (www.linkedin.com)
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Rene' Meadors

Background: There has been significant interest in developing high-throughput screening systems to evaluate cells and cellular behavior within the cells’ physiological niches. The evaluation efforts are important to understand the potential interaction of various therapeutics with cells or a group of cells within the native cell microenvironment.

Technology: Krishnendu Roy, and Kirsten Parratt from the School of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech have developed a method to simultaneously analyze a large number of cell properties in a biomimetic three-dimensional microenvironment with minimal disruption of cell-cell and cell-material interactions. The high-throughput assay system allows for very high number of replicates measured within a few seconds using already established and widely available instrumentation. The developed method utilizes shape and size-specific microgels as model three-dimensional cell niches and combines microgel shape with size and fluorescence, as a novel multiplexing variable in flow cytometry.  The addition of shape and size as multiplexing variables is important because fluorescence alone gives very little multiplexing capability (maximum of 15-18 detectable variables) compared to hundreds of parameters that can be evaluated using the described technology. Current approaches in evaluating cell-material interactions require the seeding of cells on or in an array of polymers deposited on a glass slide, which is difficult to analyze quickly and is restricted to the examination of fewer parameters and very few replicates.

Potential Commercial Applications: The invention has the potential to enhance cellular research including cancer research. There is a critical need in cancer research to develop high-throughput, robust fabrication methods to generate thousands of replicates of complex tumor niches, develop flow cytometry-based, non-destructive assays for these niches and implement new approaches to significantly increase the degree of multiplexing for currently available flow cytometry methods.

Benefits / Advantages:

  • Enables the evaluation of cell properties in a biomimetic three-dimensional microenvironment with minimal disruption of cell-cell and cell-material interactions
  • Multiplies many times the number of variables that can be analyzed without significantly increasing the time of analysis
  • Increases the statistical confidence level of acquired data
  • Utilizes established and widely available instrumentation