Therapeutic antibodies (Abs) are a rapidly growing and economically promising biotechnological research area. Therapeutic Ab production typically involves screening large numbers of Ab-secreting cells (ASCs) in order to identify those producing Abs targeting a specific antigen (Ag) with the highest affinity; a process often requiring weeks to complete. We are contributing to a multidisciplinary project focused upon the development of an immunobiosensing array ultimately intended to directly monitor the Ag-specific Ab production by thousands of ASCs on a single slide in real-time. Each ASC shall be microfluidically guided and trapped near a surface plasmon (SP) resonant nanohole array sensor so as to detect the binding of secreted Abs to Ag immobilized onto the sensor’s surface. This paper presents the initial progress of our contribution to this project: the development of polymeric microfluidic devices to guide and trap large ASC populations within arrays of single-cell traps. More specifically, this paper presents several different polymer-based microfluidic trapping devices, based upon perfusive flow-through cell traps and microwells which trap settling cells, which have been evaluated using COMSOL® simulations and tested using microsphere- and cell-based flow experiments. Our initial results are promising, and verify the functionality of our microfluidic cell trap designs.

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