Silicon Biosystems is a new company based in Italy that is developing a novel platform for solving the problem of heterogeneity of cells from tissues of many types. (For example, it is well-established that cancer is comprised of at least six cell types.) Their system uses microfabricated electrodes on a silicon chip married to a fluidic system, where a set of 9 electrodes form a di-electrophoretic ‘cage’ that enables single-cell trapping (as well as manipulation). These chips are called a DEPArray.
Combined with a multi-fluor detection system in addition to a brightfield optical one, both epitope markers and cell morphology can be used to select out a few to tens of thousands of cells from a hetergeneous mixture of millions of cells. Their development group was able to generate Ion AmpliSeq™ Panel data from a pool of 300 disaggregated cells from an FFPE sample, and then use successfully lower numbers of cells (down to as few as 10) all within the timespan of 100 days.