Dolphin Fluidics develops, manufactures and markets intelligent fluidic systems that integrate smart valves and control and communication electronics. A strong field activity is represented by bio-analytics and diagnostics, where intelligent and compact fluidic systems are increasingly demanded for.
The world’s population is growing, medical standards are increasing in many regions, and people strive for a long and healthy life up to high age. This is made possible by advanced medical technologies, which is to a great extend related to a growing understanding of molecular and genetic causes for certain diseases. These technologies enable highly personalized treatments, sometimes even for extremely rare diseases. This is supported by a strong trend for cultivating artificial tissues or even organoids in a lab environment and use these as a basis for drug development or surgical training.
By using cell lines (e.g. stem cells) of real patients, experiments can yield strongly personalized results without the need of putting the life and health of a human-being at risk. However, the quality of the obtained results stands and falls with the conditions under which the artificial cell cultures grow – these should be as realistic as possible. This is the motivation to design and develop a novel automated cell culture system that enables to induce specific differentiation pathways in dynamic cultures of adult stem cells isolated from patients. To make this become reality, not only a specialized cell culture chip is required, but also a powerful control unit for automated microfluidic handling – not readily available on the market.
A novel cell culture system is developed that will enable the cultivation of stem cells and organoids in a parallelized way under highly controlled conditions. Such a system is expected to be useful for a wide range of medical and scientific applications. In fact, the integration of the technologies developed by the partners allows to cope with typical problems related to the use of devices currently on the market, such as the use of bulky and highly specific equipment and interfaces, the lack of a disposable culture element, the low parallelization of the process and the complexity of assembling the units. The use of precision miniaturized valves and a pulsation-free pump is crucial for avoiding high mechanical stress on the cell cultures which might disturb their growth. This miniaturized fluid handling system will thus enable much more gentle and realistic growth conditions than have been possible before.