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Cell Separation and Buoyancy Activated Cell Sorting (BACSTM)

What is cell separation?

Cell separation is the process of removing one cell population from another within a biological sample, such as blood or tissue.

Cell Separation Applications, Methods, and Technologies

The separation of one or more cell types from other cells is a critical step in biological research and clinical testing. By conducting experiments on an isolated population of cells, scientists can perform a variety of downstream applications, answer research questions, and conduct experiments without interference from other cell groups.

Examples of Cell Isolation Approaches

Cell isolation is a key part of many life sciences, from stem cell and oncology research to routine clinical diagnosis. Scientists can apply cell separation technologies to do the following:

  • Capture circulating tumor cells from blood
  • Separate pathogenic bacteria from food
  • Isolate immune cells from peripheral blood
  • Conduct molecular analysis of specific cell populations
  • Study the effects of drug candidates on cell types
  • Isolate white blood cells from tissue
  • Recover mononucleated cells from blood
  • Isolate nucleic acid from a biological sample
  • Remove red blood cells from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs)
  • Isolate blood cells from plasma

Regardless of how targeted cells are used after separation, isolating a cell population from a heterogeneous sample allows scientists to identify, study, and analyze specific cell types.

Three Cell Separation Methods

Cell separation methods take one of three approaches: positive selection, negative selection, or depletion.

Positive selection: When the cell type of interest is targeted by the removal mechanism and retained for downstream applications. This approach involves targeting the desired cell population with an antibody specific to a surface marker of the cell.

Depletion: When a single cell type is removed from a biological sample.

Negative selection: When unwanted cell types are labeled with antibodies that target specific cell markers or populations and then removed, leaving one cell type untouched.

Choosing which cell separation approach to take depends on both characteristics of the targeted cell population and potential research applications.

Common Cell Isolation Technologies

There are several different technologies used to isolate cell populations. These technologies are usually based on one or more properties unique to the targeted cell type—such as size, density, electric charge, shape, or protein expression—to label those cells for removal.

Density gradient centrifugation: Density gradient centrifugation separates cell populations based on their respective densities. A biological sample is centrifuged until the cell types are isolated into layers.

Filtration: Filtration is a cell isolation technology based on size. Using a filtration device, targeted cells are captured while other cells to pass through the device.

FACS (fluorescence-activated cell sorting): FACS is a specialized type of flow cytometry that involves labeling targeted cells with fluorescent markers. Then, cells are identified and sorted one by one based on the color of the marker.

MACS (magnetic-activated cell sorting): MACS uses magnetic particles to isolate through an antibody interaction with surface markers of the targeted cell group. The cell population is then magnetically isolated from the rest of the biological sample.

Other: Other technologies include microfluidics and aptamer-based cell isolation.

However, these cell isolation technologies often leave behind residual cells, and some methods require several centrifugation steps, long incubation periods, expensive technology, and highly skilled personnel.

So, what’s a researcher to do? Look no further: Akaduem’s revolutionary cell isolation technology is here to help.

Cell Separation by Akadeum Life Sciences

Akadeum Has Developed a New Way to Sort Cells

Akadeum’s core product is based on buoyancy-activated cell sorting (BACS™). It uses microscopic microbubbles to capture target cells and quickly float them to the surface of a liquid sample for removal. After removal, cells can be used to perform downstream testing and analysis.

Essentially, the product captures cells, concentrates them, and cleans up the sample significantly.

Making cells float that would otherwise sink allows them to be isolated to a high level of purity. Additionally, buoyancy works in combination with other cell separation methods, such as magnetic-activated cell sorting and flow sorting.

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1. Microbubbles mix with the sample.

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2. Microbubbles capture target cells.

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3. Target cells float to the surface for removal.

Microbubbles by Akadeum Life Sciences

Why are BACS™ Microbubbles Different?

Because BACS™ uses buoyancy, it behaves in ways that are superior to other cell separation methods like magnetic cell sorting or flow cytometry-based sorting.



Large volume separation made easy. Because our microbubbles can be used with any volume, there is no need for aliquoting into small samples.



Little or no specialized equipment is required. Exceptional sample preparation is performed with lower processing costs and a smaller equipment footprint.



The higher throughput of a microbubble workflow can increase testing capacity 10x as compared to other technologies.



Microbubbles are highly specific, leading to higher purity and exceptionally accurate results.



Microbubbles are gentle, resulting in less damage to cells and generating better and more reliable data.

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