Biological cells are highly sensitive to variation in local pressure because cellular membranes are not rigid. Unlike microbeads, cells deform under pressure or even lyse. In isolating or enriching cells by mechanical filtration, pressure-induced lysis is exacerbated when high local fluidic velocity is present or when a filter reaches its intended capacity. Microfabrication offers new possibilities to design fluidic environments to reduce cellular stress during the filtration process. We describe the underlying biophysics of cellular stress and general solutions to scale up filtration processes for biological cells.
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