Direct quantitative experimental investigations of the function of lymphocytes and other immune cells are challenging due to the cell mobility and the complexity of intercellular communications. In order to facilitate such investigations, an in vitro system is required that is noninvasive and provides kinetic data on cellular responses to challenges such as drug treatments. The present work reports the development of a disposable, inexpensive polymer-made device, the Polymer Live Cell Array (PLCA), for real-time, kinetic analysis of immune cells. The PLCA proved to be optically and biologically compatible, thus individual immune cells can be observed and treated independently without being tethered. The cells share a common space which facilitates cellular communications via secreted molecules or via direct intercellular interactions. These properties facilitate real-time, non-intrusive, repeated measurements of immune cells under multiple experimental treatments.
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