BACS: What to Consider When Sorting Cell Populations


X-BACS Microbubble Process


Cell separation is an essential part of the manufacturing process for CGT cell therapies like CAR-T. To get the best results, cell samples must be purified and prepared properly. Purifying cells is achieved by a different approaches (positive selection, negative selection, etc.) which all can use different methodologies to accomplish their goals. Some of the major methods are discussed below. 


Buoyancy Activated Cell Sorting (BACS)

Buoyancy Activated Cell Sorting (BACS) is a cell selection process that involves sorting cells with buoyant microbubbles. These miniature gas-filled bubbles allow for a gentle separation of extremely small cells or particles from a larger mixed population. This is a simple and inexpensive cell sorting method compared to the others that require various equipment such as magnetic columnsThe BACS method has the ability to reduce cell sorting time and costs, which is considered a major benefit for many users. Another advantage this process has over others is the ability to decrease exposure of cell samples to lasers and magnets that could potentially diminish the quality of the overall final product. 


Magnetic Based Cell Sorting (MACS)

Magnetic Based Cell Sorting (MACS) is a form of magnetic separation that involves binding particles to target cells. Depending on the cells being targeted, this can be a positive or negative selection method. The greatest advantage of this method is its speed, which allows medical professionals to get higher quality samples in a shorter amount of time. On the other hand, it can be costly in terms of the equipment that it requires, and it is also a harsh method that can cause damage to fragile cells.


Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS)

Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) is a form of flow cytometry – a cell analysis technique that assures the metrics of individual cell populations in a heterogenous (varied) sample. This is a very versatile method, which has the ability to separate cells based on their surface markers as well as their size. This provides the opportunity for more in-depth cell isolations, allowing medical professionals to be more targeted in their approach. The disadvantage to this approach is the time it takes. In terms of cell therapy manufacturing, any time that cells are exposed increases the likelihood of contamination and other risk factors.


ThermoGenesis Holdings Inc. CGT CDMO Services

ThermoGenesis Holdings Inc. offers a technology solution for cell separation with its X-BACS technology. This novel technology isolates and purifies a cell type from a mixed population using lipid-based microbubbles that do not contain glass. It is simple and safe to execute and the process provide great cell recovery, purity, viability and functionality while also offering scalability.  

ThermoGenesis Holdings, Inc. is also building a state-of-the-art facility with CDMO capabilities to help address the ever-evolving manufacturing needs of organizations in the cell therapy field. Click here to learn more.

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