New means of isolating cells and particles for medicine and biotechnology

GO-Bio 1 – Dr. Jan-Michael Heinrich – cliMECS GmbH (now pluriSelect) in Leipzig 

In Kapselform stilisierte Antikörper

Elena Pankova - fotolia

Recipient: University of Leipzig
Funding: GO-Bio Phase I (01.02.2007 - 31.12.2010, 1.648.756 Euro)


Jan-Michael Heinrich has developed a bioanalytical process that enables the extraction of living cells, bioparticles and molecules from an arbitrarily complex material samples such as blood or other body fluids. The approach is quicker than previous methods and can be carried out at relatively low equipment cost. Alongside other benefits, the technique also enables the simultaneous extraction of different cells from a mixture. These can then be utilised in disease diagnosis or for a therapy process, for example antibodies are used in the detection of target cells or target molecules because they can bind to specific cells or particles. In turn, these catcher molecules are chemically bound to functionalised particles characterised by precisely defined sizes. In the course of sample analyses, these particles are added to a mixture, where they attach themselves to the desired cells or particles within the space of a few minutes. Finally, the liquid is passed through a sieve, leaving only the particles that are larger as a result of the binding process, while particles without binding partners pass through the mesh. In a simultaneous process, the use of differently-sized catcher molecules enables target cells of varying sizes to be separated by passing them through via series of sieves known as a cascade. Following separation from the capture antibodies, the isolated cells are available for further analysis or processing.

The technique is patent pending under the name MECS (modular enrichment by cascade sieving), and feasibility has been proven experimentally. Within the framework of the Go-Bio funding, the already established biotech company cliMECS GmbH will map out the application potential of the platform technology, as well as carry out technological validation and preparation for commercialisation. Here, Heinrich will have the support of the Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IKFZ) in Leipzig.