One of the biggest medical advancements of recent times is the invention of the cell isolation method. Also known as cell sorting or cell separation, the cell isolation method has rapidly become an integral component of modern biological and medical research. In this method, a one-cell population or multiple cell types are isolated from a heterogeneous sample. The targeted cells are first identified and then isolated and separated on the basis of their type.
In addition to being majorly used in modern biological research activities and cellular enumeration, in certain pathologies, cell isolation methods are also being increasingly adopted for the early detection of various diseases and in the hassle-free development of several biopharmaceuticals, such as biosimilars, recombinant proteins, and monoclonal antibodies. The cells are mainly obtained from animal, plant, and human sources, and thus require an extensive filtration system for preventing contamination from bacteria and viruses.
Thus, due to the widespread usage of the cell isolation method in the healthcare industry and research activities, the global cell isolation market generated $4.6 billion in revenue in 2017 and is predicted to attain a $12.6 billion valuation by 2023. The market will demonstrate a CAGR of 18.8% from 2018 to 2023.
What Are Most Commonly Used Cell Isolation Methods?
Immunomagnetic cell separation
This cell isolation method involves the use of magnetic particles for isolating the target cells from the heterogeneous cell mixture. This is done by binding the magnetic particles to the target-cell proteins, through enzymes, streptavidin, and antibodies, and then placing the sample in an electromagnetic field. Some of the major advantages of this technique are:
- Simplicity and faster separation process
- Low cost of the equipment required for this process
- High purity
- Isolation of multiple cells at once
Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS)
The FACS method uses fluorescent probes and flow cytometry for sorting the heterogenous cell mixtures. Although this method is slower than the immunomagnetic cell separation process for isolating the cells, it is still being widely used because of its:
- Ability to isolate single cells and complex cell types,withhigher purity
- Ability to sort cells on the basis of intracellular markers and surface marker expression levels
Density gradient centrifugation
The density gradient centrifugation method uses the different densities of the cells in a heterogenous sample for isolating them. The heterogeneous sample is placed on top of a density gradient and then centrifuged. The biggest advantage of this process over other cell separation methods is its lower cost.
This cell separation method is also called erythrocyte rosetting. It is basically a negative-selection technique that incorporates the use of both,the density gradient centrifugation and antibody-based labeling processes, for cell isolation. This cell separation technique doesn’t require any advanced and specialized system,except a centrifuge, and is thus rapidly gaining popularity all over the world.
The other commonly used cell separation techniques are sedimentation, adhesion, and microfluidic cell separation.
Increasing Cancer Menace Making Cell Isolation Essential
A major factor that has significantly increased the usage of cell isolation techniques is the high prevalence of cancer and other chronic diseases across the globe. This is primarily attributed to the large-scale usage of biopharmaceuticals in the treatment of various chronic diseases, including cancer. One of the biggest breakthroughs in medical sciences in recent times has been the utilization of biopharmaceuticals for the early detection of cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are the most widely used biopharmaceuticals for cancer detection. This is because these antibodies target the antigens and irregular pathways usually present in cancer cells.
Government Investments Boosting Development of Cell Isolation Therapies
The investments being made by the government of several countries have led to the development of various technologically innovative and advanced methods for cell separation and production of biopharmaceuticals. In addition to this, these investments have significantly increased the research and development (R&D) activities in cell isolation and cell isolation-based treatment procedures. As a result, cell therapies are being increasingly adopted for the treatment of various neurological, renal, and skeletal diseases, spinal cord injuries, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), stroke, and autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and type-1 diabetes.
There has been a sharp rise in the government funding in several countries for the development of advanced and efficient cell separation methods and biopharmaceuticals, for the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases. For instance, Andrew M. Cuomo, the Governor of New York, allocated $36 million to threeresearch organizations in 2015, for the development of stem-cell-based treatment procedures for sickle cell anemiaand ovarian cancer and cord blood collections. Similarly, the Indian government is making huge investments in biotechnology company, OmiX Labs, under the Biotechnology Ignition Grant, for developing treatment methods for various chronic diseases, such as cancer.
End Users of Cell Isolation Methods
The major endusers of the cell isolation processes are hospitals and diagnostic laboratories, research laboratories and institutes, cell banks, and biotechnology and biopharmaceutical organizations. Out of these, the adoption of cell separation techniques would probablyincrease quite rapidly in hospitals and diagnostic laboratories over the next few years. The rising prevalence of bacterial and viral infections (coronavirus in the current times) and the subsequent surge in the requirement forcell isolation products in diagnostic laboratories and hospitals, for isolating the virus and bacteriumvia cell culture, would be behind this.
Asia-Pacific (APAC) the Best Investment Opportunity for Cell Isolation Solution Providers in Future?
Across the globe, the adoption of cell isolation procedures will rise significantly in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region in the forthcoming years. This is primarily credited to the soaring investments being made in cell research by the governments of various APAC nations and the increasing focus of medical researchers and scientists on basic and applied research. In the APAC region, Japan has been at the forefront of cell separation procedure utilization since the past few years, on account of the presence of world-class healthcare infrastructure, numerous research institutes, heavygovernment research funding, and easy availability of advanced cell separation products.
Therefore, the need for cell isolation procedures will continue to shoot up all over the world in the coming years, mainly on account of their growing usage in the treatment of cancer and various other chronic diseases and the increasing adoption of stem cell therapies for medical research.
Source: P&S Intelligence
Sachin has around 7 years of experience in market research and consulting services for healthcare industry. He holds varied experience in market sizing and forecasting with varied models, competition landscape, consumer behavior analysis, opportunity analysis, product/company benchmarking, data mining and others.
He has successfully delivered multiple projects on go-to-market strategies, pricing strategy, price point analysis, Business Expansion, market entry and exit, share analysis and others. Prior to joining P&S Intelligence, he worked with different research companies, including Transparency Market Research and MarketsandMarkets Pvt Ltd.
Some of the projects delivered by him include Scar Treatment Market, Skin Replacement and Substitutes Market, and Energy-Based Aesthetic Devices Market.