Separation of Cells Based on Size and Affinity Using Paper Microfluidic Devices


Tufts University investigator Charles Mace has developed a novel paper device that can be used to separate and quantify blood based on size exclusion and affinity separation. This technology is ideal for applications in personalized healthcare, point-of-care diagnostics, monitoring of livestock, and determining food or water quality.



A significant percentage of the world’s population – particularly those living in low-income and middle-income countries – has limited access to tools that could drastically improve quality of life. Although there has been considerable interest in paper-based microfluidic devices to address this problem, these devices have not been used in cell detection or cell type separation.

Charles Mace has developed a paper device that allows for separation and/or quantification of cells in whole human blood via size exclusion (determined by paper pore size) and affinity separation (by biochemical detection of cell surface markers).

Paper has been applied only to the filtration of all cells from plasma or to the separation of malformed red blood cells. Our technology would bring cell-counting capabilities directly to the hands of users, with the potential to revolutionize diagnostics in a manner similar to the home pregnancy test.



• Low-cost platform to diagnose anemia quickly in an outpatient setting

• Separation of lymphocytes to detect viral infection early and prevent transmission

• Early detection of mastitis in cows to allow early intervention (separation of somatic cells from milk)


IP STATUS  WO 2017123668 (Published July 20, 2017); US 20180318732 (Published November 8, 2018)


Licensing Contact

John Cosmopoulos