The researchers at the University of California, Riverside in collaboration with researchers at City of Hope National Medical Center have invented deterministic mechanoporation or DMP - a novel microfluidic device technology to treat cancer.
The new technology will make producing engineered cells easier, significantly reducing costs in the process.
DMP consists of a microfluidic device that allows large numbers of cells to be injected with genetic materials. Unlike the biochemical approaches that are typically used, this new approach is mechanical.
The cells are dragged towards microscopic needles within the device using fluid flow. Then, the cells are pierced and immediately pulled away by simply reversing the direction of the fluid they are in.
The resulting pore that is formed is large enough for genetic material present in the fluid to penetrate while leaving the cell healthy enough to carry on its function.
Compared to the existing gene delivery techniques, this simple, but elegant nanomechanical poration approach provides significant advantages.
The DMP's unique single-site poration mechanism minimises damage to the cell while producing a well-defined pathway for introducing genes.
This allows for achieving both high delivery and cellular viability, which is difficult to attain through other non-viral delivery techniques, such as electroporation.
The technology is being commercialised as ‘Solopore’, as a disruptive new solution for engineering ex vivo cell and gene therapies for cancer specifically, as well as generative disorders and degenerative diseases more broadly.