Integrating cell phone imaging with magnetic levitation (i-LEV) for label-free blood analysis at the point-of-living

About this publication:

Murat Baday, PhD, and colleagues developed a groundbreaking diagnostic tool for blood analysis that combines the power and ubiquity of smartphones with magnetic levitation-based label-free separation of red and white blood cells for quantification through cell phone imaging. The underlying technology has been developed into the LeviCell® systems for gentle viable cell enrichment for sample quality improvement, while preserving cell native states.
Publication summary

The increasing demand for portable and user-friendly diagnostic tools has spurred the integration of smartphones with diagnostic devices, offering potential solutions for point-of-care settings. Murat Baday, PhD, and colleagues developed a novel magnetic levitation-based diagnostic system, i-LEV, which harnesses the capabilities of smartphones for blood analysis. The i-LEV system facilitates the label-free separation and quantification of red and white blood cells based on their intrinsic characteristics, which could enable the development of affordable biomedical devices to diagnose and continuously monitor patients in precision medicine, especially those with rare diseases, such as sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. The system successfully separated live red and white blood cells from each other and from dead cells in 15 minutes. By visually measuring the distinct bands of cells in the separation channel, different cell concentrations in the sample could be estimated. Notably, this system can identify and quantify cells at single-cell resolution, offering potential applications in disease diagnosis, monitoring, and research. 

Levitation Technology uses intrinsic cell properties for gentle viability enrichment

The magnetic levitation approach in this study showcased the potential of using intrinsic cellular characteristics as a distinctive biophysical marker, enabling detailed profiling of different cell types and their variations. This approach has evolved into the core Levitation Technology™ found in the LeviCell® systems, which capitalizes on this principle to enhance sample quality through the separation of viable cells from dead cells and debris without the requirement of cell labeling. The LeviCell platform stands out from traditional viability enrichment methods, offering a more efficient and gentle approach that ensures the maintenance of native cell states for diverse downstream applications, including single-cell multi-omics analyses. Moreover, the LeviCell platform boasts a unique real-time visualization feature, allowing researchers to witness cells in levitation throughout the process. This capability enables sample quality assessment, observation of cell population heterogeneity or behavior, and the extraction of quantifiable metrics.