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A Modular Toolkit to Fabricate Microfluidic Devices for 3D Cell Culture and Near Real-time Measurements
preprintsubmitted on 16.09.2020, 19:01 and posted on 17.09.2020, 10:25 by Giraso Kabandana, Adam Michael Ratajczak, Chengpeng Chen
Microfluidic technology has tremendously facilitated the development of in vitro cell cultures and studies. Conventionally, microfluidic devices are fabricated with extensive facilities by well-trained researchers, which hinders the widespread adoption of the technology for broader applications. Enlightened by the fact that low-cost microbore tubing is a natural microfluidic channel, we developed a series of adaptors in a toolkit that can twine, connect, organize, and configure the tubing to produce functional microfluidic units. Three subsets of the toolkit were thoroughly developed: the tubing and scoring tools, the flow adaptors, and the 3D cell culture suite. To demonstrate the usefulness and versatility of the toolkit, we assembled a microfluidic device and successfully applied it for 3D macrophage cultures, flow-based stimulation, and automated near real-time quantitation with new knowledge generated. Overall, we present a new technology that allows simple, fast, and robust assembly of customizable and scalable microfluidic devices with minimal facilities, which is broadly applicable to research that needs or could be enhanced by microfluidics.