Cell Separation

Volume 106 of the series Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology pp 41-73


Cell Isolation and Expansion Using Dynabeads ®

  • Axl A. NeurauterAffiliated withInvitrogen Dynal AS Email author 
  • , Mark BonyhadiAffiliated withInvitrogen Dynal AS
  • , Eli LienAffiliated withInvitrogen Dynal AS
  • , Lars NøklebyAffiliated withInvitrogen Dynal AS
  • , Erik RuudAffiliated withInvitrogen Dynal AS
  • , Stephanie CamachoAffiliated withInvitrogen Dynal AS
  • , Tanja AarvakAffiliated withInvitrogen Dynal AS

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This chapter describes the use of Dynabeads for cell isolation and expansion. Dynabeads are uniform polystyrene spherical beads that have been made magnetisable and superparamagnetic, meaning they are only magnetic in a magnetic field. Due to this property, the beads can easily be resuspended when the magnetic field is removed. The invention of Dynabeads made, by Professor John Ugelstad, has revolutionized the separation of many biological materials. For example, the attachment of target-specific antibodies to the surface of the beads allows capture and isolation of intact cells directly from a complex suspension such as blood. This is all accomplished under the influence of a simple magnetic field without the need for column separation techniques or centrifugation.

In general, magnetic beads coated with specific antibodies can be used either for isolation or depletion of various cell types. Positive or negative cell isolation can be performed depending on the nature of the starting sample, the cell surface markers and the downstream application in question. Positive cell isolation is the method of choice for unprocessed samples, such as whole blood, and for downstream molecular applications. Positive cell isolation can also be used for any downstream application after detachment and removal of the beads. Negative cell isolation is the method of choice when it is critical that cells of interest remain untouched, i.e., no antibodies have been bound to any cell surface markers on the cells of interest. Some cell populations can only be defined by multiple cell surface markers. Such populations of cells can be isolated by the combination of negative and positive cell isolation. By coupling Dynabeads with antibodies directed against cell surface activation molecules, the beads can be used both for isolation and expansion of the cells.

Dynabeads are currently used in two major clinical applications: 1) In the Isolex

® 300i Magnetic Cell Selection System for CD34 Stem Cell Isolation – 2) For ex vivo T cell isolation and expansion using Dynabeads

® ClinExVivo™ CD3/CD28 for clinical trials in novel adoptive immunotherapy.
Cell expansion Cell isolation Dynabeads Flow compatibility Negative isolation Positive isolation