The detection of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs)-specific biomarkers for vascular diseases that exist at low concentrations in blood-is a time-consuming process that requires large blood-sample volumes from patients. To reduce patient discomfort and delay in vascular disease diagnosis, a team led by Yu Chen from the Institute of Microelectronics of A*STAR, Singapore, has developed a microfluidic device that rapidly detects low EPC levels in blood-cell samples.
The researchers adapted a gold microelectrode array (MEA), previously employed in cell attachment studies2, for their EPC detection device. A unique configuration of horse-shoe shaped microfabricated electrodes concentrates EPCs at the center of other, disk-shaped electrodes through a technique called negative dielectrophoresis. Measuring the impedance between the horse-shoe shaped and disk electrodes allows the device to spot EPCs and determine their concentration.
“The electrode design combines both impedance detection and negative dielectrophoresis functions-which is different from approaches proposed by other researchers,” says Chen.
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