New microfluidic chip for the production of spherical gelled capsule for cell encapsulation

P. Dalle, S. Morales, J. Berthier, P-Y. Benhamou, A. Bellemin Comte, F. Boizot, G. Costa, F. Rivera

Keywords: microfluidic, alginate, pancreatic islet, encapsulation, automation, phase transfer


Implantation of Langerhans islet in alginate shell is an alternative for the treatment of diabetes type 1. Finding an adapted process for cell encapsulation is a challenge. The process must product spherical and monodisperse capsules in a limited time with a good reproducibility. Up to now conventional systems are mainly manual which induces batch disparities and do not provide repeatable clinical results. In this paper, we report a novel microfluidic device coupling a production of alginate droplets in an oil flow and a phase transfer module, that automatically transfers the capsules in an aqueous phase. This module allows a 100% extraction of alginate capsule from the oil phase to a calcium gelling solution. Gelled spherical capsules are directly retrieved in an aqueous phase. The entire process is done at physiological pH without any surfactant.