Nano-volume well array chip for large-scale propagation and high-resolution analysis of individual cancer stem cells
Journal of Nanomedicine and Nanotechnology
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Cellular heterogeneity represents an increasingly appreciated aspect for research in life science. To address this issue, we have developed a nano-volume well array chip that allows larger-scale isolation and propagation of single cells. Notably, the chip enables single-cell analysis of freshly isolated primary cells at a high-resolution. With an average height of 130 ± 10 μm and an average diameter of 80 ± 10 μm, each nano-volume well can hold up to 0.4 nL of volume, and is compatible with both adherent as well as 3D suspension cultures. Simultaneous time-lapse imaging of thousands of nano-volume wells allows to monitor cell division, as well as tracking of cell fate, and/or alterations in the microscopic cellular morphology and/or markers expression. To demonstrate its application, we employed the system for propagating and tracking of Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs). CSCs could be monitored over three consecutive days by time-lapse high-resolution imaging at the single-cell level. We could demonstrate that non-CSCs do not dedifferentiate into CSCs, while CSCs were able to give rise to both CSCs and non-CSCs by undergoing symmetric and asymmetric division, respectively. Altogether, we have developed a novel nano-volume well array chip that significantly ameliorates clonal propagation and high-resolution image analysis of rare cells.