Benchtop Cell Separation with DEParator
The DEParator uses the same principles as the 3DEP to separate cell mixtures. It comprises three parts - the separator itself, a control unit, and a low-cost consumable cartridge. The separator is not more than 40 cm high, and easily fits in a biological safety cabinet - its "suspended frame" design allows it to be placed there without interrupting the airflow. The touch-driven control unit is connected by cable and can be used inside or outside the cabinet, or on a benchtop.
The consumable contains one of our DEP-Well chips, designed with over five hundred separating wells. The solution to be separated (up to 10ml) is drawn through the chip, allowing a first separation pass, then expelled giving a second separation pass and returning only one cell type to the cell tube. Fresh medium is then added, the field deactivated and the positive DEP fraction released for collection.
We have obtained separation of over 90% purity and below 5% cell loss using the DEParator, using what we call EPACE - Electro-Physiology Activated Cell Enrichment. Effective separation speeds on a single-pass strategy can exceed 300,000 cells per second - and on a 2-pass strategy, we can exceed 150,000 cells a second. The maximum separation capacity is about a billion cells, with about 300 million in the positive DEP fraction. Compare that with high-throughput FACS, which can manage 15,000 cells per second, is limited to about 2 million cells, and loses about 50% of your cells.
What's more, there is no overnight hybridisation required, no expensive fluorophores or magnetic beads, and nothing left behind in the cells afterwards. The only cell preparation is resuspension in an iso-osmotic sugar-salt solution to optimise the separation. Separation by DEParator can be GMP-compliant, meaning it could be used for therapeutic purposes. And unlike MACS, we can separate on the basis of what's gonig on inside the cells - DEParator doesn't require different molecules on the surface.
For more information and a demonstration of the system, watch the video below.