Fully automated platelet isolation on a centrifugal microfluidic device for molecular diagnostics

Isolation of platelets from small volume of blood with higher yields and 99% purity than conventional method


Fully automated, label –free platelet isolation on a disc


Platelets are the smallest (1–4 μm) blood corpuscles in the circulatory system and have essential and versatile functions in hemostasis, inflammation, wound healing, and immunity. Platelet disorders, including platelet dysfunction and an abnormal fluctuation in platelet population, lead to symptoms such as thrombosis and bleeding. Such disorders can be diagnosed using complete blood count (CBC), coagulation studies, and peripheral blood smear. In this context, platelets are circulating factors in the bloodstream and thus serve as a biomarker in liquid biopsy. In particular, platelets closely interact with tumor microenvironments. Accordingly, such platelets are called tumor-educated platelets (TEPs). Owing to the recent findings about the close relationship between platelets and several diseases, the use of platelets in biomedical applications and clinical investigations have been receiving increasing attention. Due to a lack of well standardized convenient isolation methods for platelets, pre-analytical factors such as complex handling procedures negatively impact the quality of the platelet samples, including overactivation, low purity, and poor reproducibility. This may lead to biased interpretation of various downstream analyses, such as proteomic and genomic analyses. Microfluidic chip-based platelet separation has been developed to overcome the above limitations.


Prof. Cho and the team developed a fully automated lab-on-a-disc system to isolate highly pure platelets at a resting state by integrating the module of sequential and tangential flow-filtration. This device allows isolation of native platelets from undiluted whole blood in <20 min with superior yield, purity, and reproducibility than the available isolation methods, proving its suitability for platelet RNA-based analyses.


The study has been supported through the Korean Health Technology R&D Project of the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Global R&D Center Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) project of the Ministry of Science and ICT and the IBS Center for Soft and Living Matter.


This work is detailed in a paper published in the Lab Chip (Chi-Ju Kim et al., Fully automated platelet isolation on a centrifugal microfluidic device for molecular diagnostics, Lab Chip), DOI: 10.1039/C9LC01140D