Bioengineers have learned to levitate dead cells

(ORDO NEWS) — In the delicate work of bioengineering, dead cells invade everywhere and become a serious hindrance.

Now, according to New Scientist , scientists at Stanford have figured out how to separate dead cells from living ones using magnetic levitation, carefully separating them from those still living.

Magnetic levitation itself is not new, but the study that it can lift dead cells is news, and scientists want to show how it is possible to improve everything from cancer research to 3D printing of organs.

In a study published last month, scientists speculate that an experimental drug could focus on cell clumping. Once cancer cells have been damaged, scientists could remove them from the rest of the cells to quantify progress.

Without levitation, one of the main ways to separate living cells from dead cells is to spin them in a centrifuge until they form groups depending on their density. This process can be extremely disruptive at the cellular scale, which is why the team argues that splitting cells based on magnetic signatures is a much softer (and therefore more beneficial) approach.

Then 3D printing: the ability to extract dead cells from any organ or tissue you are trying to synthesize without scraping the living ones along with them will make life much easier for doctors doing extremely delicate work.

However, the actual use cases are speculative at this point. Scientists just got to the point where they learned they could levitate dead cells.


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