Traceable impedance-based single-cell pipetting, from a research set-up to a robust and fast automated robot: DispenCell-S1

Single-cell isolation is a truly transformative tool for the understanding of biological systems. It allows single-cell molecular analyses and considers the heterogeneity of cell populations, which is of particular relevance for the diagnosis and treatment of evolving diseases and for personalized medicine. Single-cell isolation is also a key process in cell line development, where it is used to obtain stable and high producing clonally-derived cell lines, thus contributing to the efficiency, safety and reproducible quality of the drug produced. High producing clonally-derived cell lines are however rare events and their identification is a time-consuming process that requires the screening of thousands of clones. Therefore, there is an unmet need for a device that would allow the fast and efficient isolation of single cells, while preserving their integrity and providing an insurance of their clonality.
We proposed earlier an impedance based pipetting technology for isolation of single cells (Bonzon et al., 2020), with initial validations for state-of-the-art stem cell in-vitro and in-vivo assays (Muller et al., 2020). Here, we present the transition from this pioneering technology developed in an academic setting into an automated instrument, called DispenCell-S1, allowing for traceable isolation of single cells. We developed and validated models predicting the performances for 96-well plates single-cell isolation. This resulted in a time of dispense down to 3 min and a plate filling rate up to 96%. Finally, we obtained an impedance signal reliability for proof of single particle isolation of 99% with beads and ranging from 93 to 95% with CHO cells.

Enabling efficient traceable and revocable time-based data sharing in smart city

With the assistance of emerging techniques, such as cloud computing, fog computing and Internet of Things (IoT), smart city is developing rapidly into a novel and well-accepted service pattern these days. The trend also facilitates numerous relevant applications, e.g., smart health care, smart office, smart campus, etc., and drives the urgent demand for data sharing. However, this brings many concerns on data security as there is more private and sensitive information contained in the data of smart city applications. It may incur disastrous consequences if the shared data are illegally accessed, which necessitates an efficient data access control scheme for data sharing in smart city applications with resource-poor user terminals.
To this end, we proposes an efficient traceable and revocable time-based CP-ABE (TR-TABE) scheme which can achieve time-based and fine-grained data access control over large attribute universe for data sharing in large-scale smart city applications. To trace and punish the malicious users that intentionally leak their keys to pursue illicit profits, we design an efficient user tracing and revocation mechanism with forward and backward security. For efficiency improvement, we integrate outsourced decryption and verify the correctness of its result. The proposed scheme is proved secure with formal security proof and is demonstrated to be practical for data sharing in smart city applications with extensive performance evaluation.

Quantitative, traceable determination of cell viability using absorbance microscopy

Cell viability, an essential measurement for cell therapy products, lacks traceability. One of the most common cell viability tests is trypan blue dye exclusion where blue-stained cells are counted via brightfield imaging. Typically, live and dead cells are classified based on their pixel intensities which may vary arbitrarily making it difficult to compare results. Herein, a traceable absorbance microscopy method to determine the intracellular uptake of trypan blue is demonstrated. The intensity pixels of the brightfield images are converted to absorbance images which are used to calculate moles of trypan blue per cell. Trypan blue cell viability measurements, where trypan blue content in each cell is quantified, enable traceable live-dead classifications. To implement the absorbance microscopy method, we developed an open-source AbsorbanceQ application that generates quantitative absorbance images.
The validation of absorbance microscopy is demonstrated using neutral density filters. Results from four different microscopes demonstrate a mean absolute deviation of 3% from the expected optical density values. When assessing trypan blue-stained Jurkat cells, the difference in intracellular uptake of trypan blue in heat-shock-killed cells using two different microscopes is 3.8%. Cells killed with formaldehyde take up ~50% less trypan blue as compared to the heat-shock-killed cells, suggesting that the killing mechanism affects trypan blue uptake. In a test mixture of approximately 50% live and 50% dead cells, 53% of cells were identified as dead (±6% standard deviation). Finally, to mimic batches of low-viability cells that may be encountered during a cell manufacturing process, viability was assessed for cells that were 1) overgrown in the cell culture incubator for five days or 2) incubated in DPBS at room temperature for five days. Instead of making live-dead classifications using arbitrary intensity values, absorbance imaging yields traceable units of moles that can be compared, which is useful for assuring quality for biomanufacturing processes.

Traceable Nanocluster-Prodrug Conjugate for Chemo-photodynamic Combinatorial Therapy of Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

In cancer treatment, image-guided combinatorial therapy is usually a more promising approach than conventional therapy because it may overcome the drawbacks of conventional cancer treatment, such as tumor recurrence and multidrug resistance. To achieve a high therapeutic effect in image-guided combinatorial therapy, the therapeutic material should be traceable, biocompatible, and yet highly effective in eradicating tumors. For this purpose, we developed a traceable nanocarrier consisting of atomically precise gold nanoclusters (Au NCs, Au22(SG)18, abbreviated as Au22 NCs, where SG stands for glutathione) and a biopolymer (i.e., chitosan).
This traceable nanocarrier (Chito-Au22) was then combined with dual prodrugs (i.e., chemotherapeutic platinum (Pt(IV)) prodrug and photodynamic aminolevulinic acid (ALA) prodrug) through a bioconjugation method. It was found that the final nanocomposite (abbreviated as Pt(IV)-ALA-Chito-Au22) has a pH-responsive drug release behavior, and the cumulative drug release can exceed 50% within 12 h at an acidic pH of 5.0. After 15 min of white light irradiation, the nanocomposite showed a synergistic killing effect on the A549 non-small cell lung carcinoma cell line.
The Pt(IV)-ALA-Chito-Au22 nanocomposite also showed a high cellular uptake capacity and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation capability, resulting in a significant killing effect on three-dimensional (3D) multicellular A549 spheroids. In the presence of light, the volume of the multicellular spheroids treated by our nanocomposites was reduced more than two times compared with those treated by a single prodrug/component. The nanocomposite also showed good cell viability on normal lung cell lines. The multifunctional nanocomposites developed in this study have broad prospects in both therapeutic and diagnostic applications.

A double crystal von Hamos spectrometer for traceable x-ray emission spectroscopy

A novel double full-cylinder crystal x-ray spectrometer for x-ray emission spectroscopy (XES) has been realized based on a modified von Hamos geometry. The spectrometer is characterized by its compact dimensions, its versatility with respect to the number of crystals used in series in the detection path, and the option to perform calibrated XES measurements. The full-cylinder crystals used are based on highly annealed pyrolytic graphite with a thickness of 40 μm, which was bent to a radius of curvature of 50 mm.
The flexible design of the spectrometer allows for an easy change-within the same setup-between measurements with one crystal for maximized efficiency or two crystals for increased spectral resolving power. The spectrometer realized can be used at different end-stations of synchrotron radiation beamlines or can be laboratory-based. The main application focus of the spectrometer is the determination of x-ray fundamental atomic parameters in the photon energy range from 2.4 to 18 keV. The evaluation of chemical speciation is also an area of application, as demonstrated in the example of battery electrodes using resonant inelastic x-ray scattering.

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