Benefits of cell sorting
Magnetic-activated cell sorting is a biological technique to separate different cells based on specific characteristics. This technology has been used in various fields of medicine, such as cancer research and genetic disease diagnosis. However, MACS can also be used in the prenatal field to identify abnormal cells that could lead to miscarriages. The development of MACS started in the early 1970s and began to take shape some 20 years later.
How does MACS work?
The technology works by exposing the cells to a magnetic field that attracts specific cells with different markers than the cells in the sample. The cells are then separated from each other based on various properties identified by the fertility team. This process creates a sample with pure populations of cells that are more likely to result in a healthy pregnancy.
Improving pregnancy outcomes
Magnetic-activated cell sorting can be used for sperm selection during an ART cycle. Studies found that MACS is a safe and efficient method for selecting functional sperm cells to fertilize the egg, thus improving pregnancy rates. The magnetic technology can also analyze a sample of embryos to reduce the risk of spontaneous abortion by identifying and eliminating abnormal cells with compromised chromosomes. Similarly, testing amniotic fluid samples allows doctors to detect abnormalities early on and identify the risk of miscarriage. Early detection will enable couples to seek the necessary treatment.
MACS to the future
For individuals who experience recurrent miscarriages, MACS may be a valuable tool to help determine the cause. This technique can also help minimize the chances of having another miscarriage by identifying potential problem areas before development into more serious issues occurs. Unlike traditional genetic testing methods, MACS is an easier and more convenient alternative that gives patients more control over fertility. In addition to helping ensure a successful pregnancy, MACS could be a useful diagnostic tool for detecting conditions like cystic fibrosis (CF) and sickle cell anemia. Eventually, this technology could be applied to monitor the development of the fetus throughout pregnancy and serve as a predictive tool for other complications that may arise.