MRCyte – Magnetic Flow Cytometry


The focus of this research project was to realize a point-of-care flow cytometer solution with integrated workflow that could enable clinicians to perform routine diagnostics at the bedside using currently hidden cellular biomarkers. Funded by the BMBF (Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research) the MRCyte project would challenge the current status quo of fluorescence flow cytometry.

Quantitative magnetic flow cytometry enables detection of target cell functions by marking blood cells with magnetic nanoparticles. The workflow uses a blood-filled cartridge that does not require sample preparation. The concentration measurement counts the magnetically marked cells on site, near the patient and within minutes. 

The high detection precision of the MRCyte allows decisions regarding therapy for unstable cellular biomarkers. This was not feasible with competing processes, as routine applications would involve significant investments and specialized knowledge. 

Packaging requirements

A key challenge in developing an integrated and all-magnetic workflow for quantitative single cell analysis was the integration of the magnetic sensor into a microfluidic chip that could operate with undiluted blood. One option was to take advantage of a biocompatible and functional sensor package design. By embedding mechanical guiding structures on the package duroplast, upstream of the embedded GMR sensor enabled the magnetically marked blood cells to be accurately maneuvered over the sensor and counted. 


German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Key partners

Siemens Healthineers
Elmos Semiconductor
M2 Automation

Related links

EarlyBio - To Save Lives
AMA Innovation Award 2016
Applied nanobiomedicine: Exploiting nanoparticles to hunt for hidden cancer cells 

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