On-chip manufacturing of synthetic proteins for point-of-care therapeutics
Murphy, Travis W.
Naler, Lynette B.
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Therapeutic proteins have recently received increasing attention because of their clinical potential. Currently, most therapeutic proteins are produced on a large scale using various cell culture systems. However, storing and transporting these therapeutic proteins at low temperatures makes their distribution expensive and problematic, especially for applications in remote locations. To this end, an emerging solution is to use point-of-care technologies that enable immediate and accessible protein production at or near the patient’s bedside. Here we present the development of “Therapeutics-On-a-Chip (TOC)”, an integrated microfluidic platform that enables point-of-care synthesis and purification of therapeutic proteins. We used fresh and lyophilized materials for cell-free synthesis of therapeutic proteins on microfluidic chips and applied immunoprecipitation for highly efficient, on-chip protein purification. We first demonstrated this approach by expressing and purifying a reporter protein, green fluorescent protein. Next, we used TOC to produce cecropin B, an antimicrobial peptide that is widely used to control biofilmassociated diseases. We successfully synthesized and purified cecropin B at 63 ng/μl within 6 h with a 92% purity, followed by confirming its antimicrobial functionality using a growth inhibition assay. Our TOC technology provides a new platform for point-of-care production of therapeutic proteins at a clinically relevant quantity.