Micromachined interfaces: New approaches in cell immunoisolation and biomolecular separation

Tejal A. Desai, Derek J. Hansford, Mauro Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


As a novel therapeutic application of microfabrication technology, a micromachined membrane-based biocapsule is described for the transplantation of protein-secreting cells without the need for immunosuppression. This new approach to cell encapsulation is based on microfabrication technology whereby immunoisolation membranes are bulk and surface micromachined to present uniform and well-controlled pore sizes as small as 10 nm, tailored surface chemistries, and precise microarchitecture. Through its ability to achieve highly controlled microarchitectures on size scales relevant to living systems (from μm to nm), microfabrication technology offers unique opportunities to more precisely engineer biocapsules that allow free exchange of the nutrients, waste products, and secreted therapeutic proteins between the host (patient) and implanted cells, but exclude lymphocytes and antibodies that may attack foreign cells. Microfabricated inorganic encapsulation devices may provide biocompatibility, in vivo chemical and mechanical stability, tailored pore geometries, and superior immunoisolation for encapsulated cells over conventional encapsulation approaches. By using microfabrication techniques, structures can be fabricated with spatial features from the sub-micron range up to several millimeters. These multi-scale structures correspond well with hierarchical biological structures, from proteins and sub-cellular organelles to the tissue and organ levels. (C) 2000 Elsevier Scinece B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-36
Number of pages14
JournalBiomolecular Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Biocapsule
  • Biomolecular separation
  • Microfabrication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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