Biomechanical properties of single cells(e.g., cellular deformability, or cellular viscosity)
Indicate changes in the global state of cells, including phenomena such as:
Highly replicative cancer cells are significantly more deformable than their non-cancerous, benign, precursors.
Immune activation can be readily distinguished from baseline biomechanical signatures, and chronic vs. acute inflammation states have notable differences.
Pluripotent stem cells become less deformable as they commit to a lineage and differentiate.
Metastatic cancer cells are notably more deformable than those with reduced metastatic potential.
Comparison of Leading Techniques to Assess Cell Mechanics
The main issue to date has been throughput
Generating meaningful diagnostic information requires the analysis of thousands of cells. Until deformability cytometry, most techniques could only measure tens of cells per hour, rendering the approach too cumbersome for clinical diagnostic applications or high throughput research applications.