Acoustic droplet ejection and its role in tailored cancer therapy

*Adapted from a grad school thing. Enjoy 🙂

1. Introduction

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Acoustic droplet ejection (ADE) is a technique wherein high-frequency sound waves are focused onto the surface of a fluid in order to eject droplets, as shown in Figure 1 [1]. The physics and technology governing this process have been active areas of research & development for nearly a century now. Motivation for ADE is driven by limitations with conventional methods when it is necessary to dispense small volumes of fluid with high fidelity. While ADE is especially effective at the milliliter and nanoliter scales, droplets as small as a picoliter may be produced with high precision and accuracy [2]. Only sound is required to transfer the liquid; this eliminates the cost of washing, replacing, and disposing of any solids that may regularly come into contact with the liquid such as pipette tips, pin tools, and ejection nozzles. Thus, due to favorable economical and operational conditions, ADE is suitable for a wide variety of applications.

In recent times, this field has made substantial contributions to the life sciences. The technology is gentle enough to transfer proteins, high molecular weight DNA, and live cells without damaging them [3]. Proteomics, cell-based assays, and drug discovery are just a few of many biomedical arenas that have benefited substantially from ADE. One application of interest is the development of tailored cancer therapy via ex vivo assessment of drug activity in patient tumor cells, which I describe later on.

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