2. Method for forming cellular arrays using magnetic nanoparticles and cellular function analysis

Method for forming cellular arrays using magnetic nanoparticles and cellular function analysis

  • Innovative Research Center for Preventive Medical Engeering

Hiroyuki Honda [Professor]


Outline of Seeds

Evaluation of pathological tissues such as cancer specimens at the cellular level is crucial for the discovery of novel treatment methods and innovative drug development. At our laboratory, we developed the liposome embedded magnetic nanoparticles that can be easily taken up by the cells. Thus, the cells can be induced to move by using magnetic force. In this method, by combining the magnetized pin-holder like devices (200micrometer pitch, 6000 pillars in an area of 1cm1cm), we succeeded in arranging thousands of cells in array inside the incubator. By embedding it with collagen gel, it is also possible to prepare the culture environment that closely mimics the in-vivo tissue. Furthermore, this technique can also be used to evaluate the cellular functions such as proliferation and invasion and thus can be used to assess the interaction between cells of different types. This can ultimately help in the development of new anti-cancer drugs.
Because the liposome embedded magnetic nanoparticles (Magnetite cationic liposome, MCL) are being developed, we are also developing an apparatus that can provide both the mechanical function and optical inspection such as methods for aseptic selection of magnetic labelled cells, inoculation of such cells, exchange of culture medium, sterilization of the magnet, handling, creation of a large area pinholder device of desired size etc.

Novelty and originality of this research

There is novelty in the magnetic labelling of cells using MCL, the construction of 3D tissue using magnet as well as in terms of transport of such structures. We have already applied for a number of patents (patent application numbers:2003-73808, 2003-136336, 2003-46060 etc). Using this technique, we showed for the first time that thousands of cells could be arrayed simultaneously in the same incubator and isolated culture was possible (Biotechnol. Bioeng., 97(5), 1309-1317(2007), Biosens. Bioelectron. 42, 300307 (2013)). In addition, heterogeneous cells could be co-cultured leading to the possibility of functional evaluation of cells.

Application and research area for Industry collaboration

(Ripple effect on local economy)
The evaluation of cellular functions in a biomimetic environment now being possible, it can lead to innovative drug discovery.
(Prospects for practical application)
We wish to use this technology in the investigation of actual candidate drugs . Technically, the prospects are bright.


Drug development, Life sciences, Medicine, Modification and formation of cells and tissues

Monographs, Papers and Articles

  • Biotechnol. Bioeng., 97(5), 1309-1317(2007), Biosens. Bioelectron. 42, 300–307 (2013), PLOS ONE, 9(7), e103502 (2014)