UCLA-Developed Technology Enables Single-Cell Sorting by Function; Advance Has Implications for Drug Development and Biological Research

Using microscopic, bowl-shaped containers called nanovials (the larger, reddish-brown objects) enabled researchers to select cells based on what type they are and which compounds they secrete (shown here in blue).
For nearly 40 years, drugmakers have used genetically engineered cells as tiny drug factories. Such cells can be programmed to secrete compounds that yield drugs used to treat cancer and autoimmune conditions such as arthritis. Efforts to develop and manufacture new biologic treatments may gain from a new technology for quickly sorting single, live cells in a standard laboratory setup. With microscopic, bowl-shaped hydrogel containers called “nanovials,” a UCLA-led research team recently demonstrated the ability to select cells based on what type they are, and which compounds--and how much of those compounds--they secrete. The study was published on March 24, 2022 in the journal ACS Nano. The article is titled “Suspendable Hydrogel Nanovials for Massively Parallel Single-Cell Functional Analysis and Sorting.” The technology could also advance basic biological research.
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