Paper chips for cell cultures, drug screening and mass spec analysis

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  • Published: Sep 21, 2015
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: Base Peak
thumbnail image: Paper chips for cell cultures, drug screening and mass spec analysis

Paper chips have been produced by scientists in China for culturing cells and testing drug efficacies, with the added advantage that they can be used directly for mass spectrometric analysis using the paper spray technique.

Writing in Advanced Care Materials, the researchers expanded upon the four key advantages brought by the chips that are made from polycarbonate scaffolds: easy cell seeding due to the smooth surface; the ability for optical imaging due to the lack of light scattering; the ability to build stacks from the 10-µm single-layered chips; the analysis of cellular components by mass spectrometry.

The system was illustrated using liver cancer cells as a model. The cells were spread evenly across the paper chips and remained viable during culture. After adding the anticancer drug cyclophosphamide, its effects on the cells could be elucidated using a commercial kit.

Furthermore, the cell lipids were analysed by paper spray mass spectrometry using the paper chips as the substrate and applying a high electric field. This led to the illustration of cell-based drug assays on the chips in which the pharmacokinetics could be studied from intracell measurements of cyclophosphamide.

The cell cultures were reproducible using paper chips in microwells, giving an inexpensive system that is easy to operate with the potential to replace traditional methods culture dishes.

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