Cellular Migration and Invasion Assays: Real-time, dynamic measurements of cellular behavior & controlled microenvironmental conditions

Cellular migration is an important biological process that occurs in both in health and disease as a part of wound healing, development, differentiation, inflammation, immune response, angiogenesis and metastasis. Chemical messengers are integral to most migration events and serve to direct cells to tissues or the vasculature via a process called chemotaxis. Chemotaxis is a dynamic event with numerous steps of cell communication and response.

Typically, cellular migration is studied using a two compartment device called a Boyden chamber or a transwell insert system. The data gathered using a Boyden chamber are narrowly-focused snapshots into complex biological phenomena. Events occurring before the endpoint are typically lost using the Boyden chamber or transwell approach. The processing of transwell inserts for data capture is considerably labor-intensive. Further, it is impossible to control environmental conditions within the well due to the static nature of the assay. In order to examine these processes in detail over time, it is necessary to observe cells in situ.