New technology allows high content analysis of adherent or suspension cell systems using fewer cells and a fraction of the media and reagents that are traditionally used


DropArray gives scientists the freedom to run cellular assays as their research demands, and not based on the availability of cells or cost of reagents. Developed by Curiox Biosystems, an emerging leader in bioassay technology, DropArray is a patented* system for low-volume cell-based assays. It allows scientists to use a fraction of the cells, media and reagents they have traditionally used, and still acquire rich, high content data. Equally effective for adherent and suspension cells, DropArray eliminates evaporation, and is compatible with most automated plate handling and imaging equipment.

DropArray Microplates support assays including those requiring long-term incubation and multiple washing steps, even when using suspension or weakly adherent cells. “I was very impressed that my PBMCs were retained so well on the DropArray plates after substantial washes and treatment,” said Justin D. Boyd, Ph.D., at the Harvard Medical School Laboratory. DropArray is perfect for in vitro toxicity assays, and high content screening using scarce or expensive cells, like hepatocytes, lymphocytes and stem cells. Jean-Bernard Lazaro, Ph.D. at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute added, “DropArray may well be the system I am looking for to screen large panels of cancer cell lines.”

Using standard liquid dispensing equipment, cell sample drops containing as few as 100 cells are deposited on to DropArray microplates. The cell samples bind to small hydrophilic spots in 96 or 384 array patterns on the flat, hydrophobic surface of the plate. DropArray Liquid Lid, an immiscible, gas permeable fluid, is used to cover and protect the samples, yet allows gas exchange. Established procedures for cell-based assays like plate washing and treatment with reagents and compounds may still be performed, but much less media and buffer are required. 

The DropArray microplates are constructed of either polystyrene (PS) or cyclic olefin copolymer (COC), a rigid, optically clear polymer. The plate surface has a thin film coating of hydrophobic PTFE precisely perforated with a 96- or 384-array pattern forming hydrophilic spots. Surface treatments available for coating the hydrophilic areas include tissue culture, poly-d-lysine, or collagen. The plate dimensions meet ANSI/SBS standards for automation compatibility. DropArray plates are packaged sterile for shipping and supplied in bags of 10 items each. Accessories include DropArray Liquid Lid fluids, plate lids and removable grids. Starter kits are available.

Curiox recently introduced the LT210 (low throughput) and HT200 (high throughput) DropArray Washing Stations to automate the task of adding and changing media and buffers with a simple push of a button. Plates are positioned in the liquid-tight chamber of the system’s washing station, and an aqueous washing buffer is automatically applied. A gentle shaking motion washes the plates with a minimal loss of cells. Despite the low velocity washing action, plate processing time is comparable to traditional plate washers because the entire plate is treated at once.