Cell separation based on markers present on the cell surface has extensive biological applications. However, current separation methods involve labeling and label removal steps which are often slow and intrusive. We envisioned that the ability to control the direction of transport of cells based on specific receptors on the cell surface without labeling and label removal steps would enable simple continuous-flow microfluidic cell separation systems with minimal processing steps and active components. We therefore explored whether receptor patterning could be used to direct the transport of cells in a label-free manner through the formation of transient receptor-ligand bonds that result in cell rolling.

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