Let’s introduce one of our partners! Meet VYCAP – a company operating in the field of liquid biopsies. VYCAP, as part of a consortium collaborating within the Interreg program, developed the Cell Puncher Pro, a platform for selection and isolation of single cells (SC) for clonal expansion or SC analysis. Isolating single cells and puncturing them allows very specific analysis of the cell contents. For example of Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs), which can be isolated from blood. By examining cells via next-gen sequencing, the unique genetic profile of the cell is recorded. Knowledge of this profile allows offering specific, personal therapies (personalized medicine). The Cell Puncher Pro has reached TRL7 (Technology Readiness Level 7): system prototype demonstration in an operational environment. The first orders have already been placed and the system will be operational in the course of 2022.
Role of Micronit
The consortium came to Micronit with the request to develop and produce a consumable for the Cell Puncher Pro. This consumable is the small device on which the actual assay takes place. It is placed inside the pump system that triggers the movement of the sample material. The consumable consists of a small polymer slide on which a silicon chip is bonded. For the production of this chip, we use thin film deposition, lithography, RIE and DRIE techniques. With our capabilities in these fields, we are able to give the chip the required characteristics to conduct this specific assay.
How does it work?
The chip is in fact a ‘sieve’ consisting of 6400 single pore microwells, each of which can contain a single cell. Each microwell has a volume of 2.5 nL. After the sample material has been transferred to the chip, one cell is trapped in each pore. The pore and cell are then punctured, exposing the inner cell material for inspection or reproduction.