“Virtual Pillars” Separate and Sort Blood-Based Nanoparticles (Small Extracellular Vesicles or sEVs) Potentially Useful for Wide Variety of Diagnostics & Treatments

Engineers at Duke University, together with colleagues, have developed a device that uses sound waves to separate and sort the tiniest particles found in blood in a matter of minutes. The technology is based on a concept called “virtual pillars” and could be a boon to both scientific research and medical applications. Tiny biological nanoparticles called “small extracellular vesicles” (sEVs) are released from every type of cell in the body and are believed to play a large role in cell-to-cell communication and disease transmission. The new technology, dubbed Acoustic Nanoscale Separation via Wave-Pillar Excitation Resonance, or ANSWER for short, not only pulls these nanoparticles from biofluids in under 10 minutes, it also sorts them into size categories believed to have distinct biological roles. The results were published online on November 23, 2022 in Science Advances. The open-access article is titled “A Solution to the Biophysical Fractionation of Extracellular Vesicles: Acoustic Nanoscale Separation via Wave-Pillar Excitation Resonance (ANSWER).”

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