Technology Offers

Temporary microwells - simple and efficient way to homogeneous cell distribution in cell-based assays

Abstract

The innovative solution allows to use special sample carriers or grids of different pore sizes in cell arrays. These temporary “microwells” are crucial for the homogeneous distribution of cells and material on the carrier. This easy-to-implement method is highly reproducible and at the same time prevents cross-contamination.

Background

The use of cell-based assays in life science and pharmaceutical research is an integral part of biological and medical research. They are used to examine and understand disease mechanisms, and to identify target structures for drugs and many other applications.

Problem

Cell-based assays are used to perform different studies on many cells simultaneously under conditions that are as homogeneous as possible. In order to ensure high assay quality and thus provable significance, a homogeneous distribution is crucial – this applies to the cells, the transfection medium as well as the sample molecules to be examined on the multiwell plate or the microarray. In general, however, cells do not show the desired homogeneous distribution after seeding on conventional substrates or plates, but often accumulate at the edge (“coffee ring effect”) or in the center of the array (“Marangoni effect”).

Solution

As part of a project funded by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation, researchers at the BioQuant research institute (University of Heidelberg) have developed a simple method, which allows temporary “microwells” to be created on cell arrays. This is achieved by providing special sample carriers or grids of different pore sizes, which results in the creation of wells. The latter are crucial for the homogeneous distribution of cells and material on the carrier. This method is highly reproducible and at the same time prevents cross-contamination.

Moreover, this innovative technology is easy to implement: Prior to cell seeding, two grids of different pore sizes are placed on top of each other and integrated into the plate. Based on the combination of the grids, whose pore sizes are perfectly positioned in relation to each other and to the spot sizes, temporary microstructures are formed on the large-format carrier material. These temporary “microwells” specifically restrict cell and reagent movement. After cell seeding and grid removal, parallel processing of the cells can be resumed without interruption.

Figure 1: Preferred form of cell arrangement based on the present invention: Solid carrier (bottom), a first net (center) on the carrier surface and a second, finer net (top) on the first net [BioQuant, University of Heidelberg
Figure 1: Preferred form of cell arrangement based on the present invention: Solid carrier (bottom), a first net (center) on the carrier surface and a second, finer net (top) on the first net [BioQuant, University of Heidelberg

Advantages

  • Homogeneous distribution of cells, transfection media and sample material
  • Better analysis due to excellent reproducibility
  • Easy handling
  • Low technical effort
  • Effective prevention of inhomogeneous cell seeding and cross-contamina

Fields of application

This invention makes it possible to produce cell arrays that combine the advantages of several conventional sys­tems (multi-well plates and microarrays). In addition, the new arrays ensure homogeneous distribution of trans­fected materials and cells. They can also be used for solid phase transfection.

Exposé
Contact
Dr. Dirk Windisch
TLB GmbH
Ettlinger Straße 25
76137 Karlsruhe | Germany
Phone +49 721-79004-0
windisch(at)tlb.de | www.tlb.de
Development Status
Prototype / TRL5
Patent Situation
EP3408026 A1 pending
Reference ID
15/022TLB
Service
The Technologie-Lizenz-Büro GmbH is in charge of the exploitation of this technology and assists companies in obtaining a license.