A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that a device can sift exceedingly tiny particles from blood samples without having to send samples off to a lab, ScienceDaily reported.
The automated, point-of-care system, which combines acoustic cell-sorting and microfluidic technologies, allows single-step, on-chip isolation of exosomes from whole biological fluids with a high rate of purity and yield, according to the news source.
Tony Jun Huang, study author, said "the current technologies for exosome isolation suffer from drawbacks such as long turnaround time, inconsistency, low yield, contamination and uncertain exosome integrity. This work offers a new technique that can address these issues. We want to make extracting high-quality exosomes as simple as pushing a button and getting the desired samples within 10 minutes."
Co-author Ming Dao noted that "the new device can eliminate all blood cells and platelets first before efficiently separating extracellular vesicles such as exosomes," adding that "this new generation of integrated device design makes it possible for centrifugation-free sorting of different blood components, which can drastically reduce the cost and processing time involved with liquid biopsy assays."
The dual-stage technique was shown to separate more than 80 percent of exosomes present with a purity of 98 percent, versus 5 percent to 40 percent with current methods.
Yoel Sadovsky, co-author, said "this will add a new dimension to research into 'liquid biopsies' and facilitate the clinical use of extracellular vesicles to inform the physiology and health of organs that are hard to access, such as the placenta during human pregnancy."