A microfluidic droplet array system for cell-based drug combination screening

Guan Sheng Du, Jian Zhang Pan, Shi Ping Zhao, Ying Zhu, Jaap M.J. den Toonder, Qun Fang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In the last few decades, drug combination therapy has been widely applied in oncology and in other complex diseases. Due to its potential advantage of lower drug toxicity and higher therapeutic efficacy, drug combination treatment has been more and more studied in fundamental labs and pharmacy companies. In this chapter, we report cell-based drug combination screening using a microfluidic droplet system based on a sequential operation droplet array (SODA) technique. In this system, an oil-covered two-dimensional droplet array chip was used as the platform for cell culture and analysis. This chip was fixed in an x–y–z translation stage under control of a computer program. A tapered capillary connected with a syringe pump was coupled with the droplet array chip to achieve multiple droplet manipulations including liquid metering, aspirating, depositing, mixing, and transferring. Complex multistep operations for drug combination screening involving long-term cell culture, medium changing, schedule-dependent drug dosage and stimulation, and cell viability testing were achieved in parallel using the present system. The drug consumption for each screening test was substantially decreased to 5 ng–5 μg, corresponding to 10- to 1000-fold reductions compared with traditional drug screening systems with 96- or 384-well plates.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCell-based microarrays : methods and protocols
EditorsP. Ertl, M. Rothbauer
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4939-7792-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-4939-7791-8
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2018

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • Cell-based assay
  • Droplet-based microfluidics
  • Drug combination
  • High-throughput screening
  • Cell Line
  • Animals
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/instrumentation
  • Tissue Array Analysis/instrumentation
  • Cell Culture Techniques/instrumentation
  • Microfluidics/instrumentation


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