Magnetic cell separation by inkjet printing for disease monitoring

Sylvia Lucia Natividad, University of Texas at El Paso


The standard analysis technique for cell sorting, flow cytometry, requires centralized facilities such as tertiary Medical Centers. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) Statistics, in this country alone, more than 35 million people live in medically underserved areas, many of which need access to diagnostic procedures for proper management of their diseases. A cell sorting technique that can be done in low-resource settings at a decreased cost to the medical organization and the patient has been developed through this research project. By combining inkjet printing technology and magnetic labeling of cells it is possible to obtain accurate cell counts needing only a regular optical microscope. Mouse spleen lymphocytes were mixed with anti-mouse CD4+ superparamagnetic microspheres and printed through a modified, commercial inkjet printer. The cells that bound to the magnetic labels landed on a polymer slide covering a permanent magnet while the rest of the sample was collected in an excess container for further analysis. The cell counts for this study were obtained by use of regular and inverted optical microscopes and open source imaging software developed by the National Institute of Health. Results from flow cytometry analysis of the "biological ink" are presented for comparison. This novel technique may improve upon existing technologies by reducing costs of training personnel, acquisition and maintenance of instrumentation, and time to conduct analysis.

Subject Area

Biomedical engineering

Recommended Citation

Natividad, Sylvia Lucia, "Magnetic cell separation by inkjet printing for disease monitoring" (2012). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1512590.