Cell identification and enumeration are essential procedures within clinical and research laboratories. For over 150 years, quantitative investigation of body fluids such as counts of various blood cells has been an important tool for diagnostic analysis. With the current evolution of point-of-care diagnostics and precision medicine, cheap and precise cell counting technologies are in demand. This article reviews the timeline and recent notable advancements in cell counting that have occurred as a result of improvements in sensing including optical and electrical technology, enhancements in image processing capabilities, and contributions of micro and nanotechnologies. Cell enumeration methods have evolved from the use of manual counting using a hemocytometer to automated cell counters capable of providing reliable counts with high precision and throughput. These developments have been enabled by the use of precision engineering, micro and nanotechnology approaches, automation and multivariate data analysis. Commercially available automated cell counters can be broadly classified into three categories based on the principle of detection namely, electrical impedance, optical analysis and image analysis. These technologies have many common scientific uses, such as hematological analysis, urine analysis and bacterial enumeration. In addition to commercially available technologies, future technological trends using lab-on-a-chip devices have been discussed in detail. Lab-on-a-chip platforms utilize the existing three detection technologies with innovative design changes utilizing advanced nano/microfabrication to produce customized devices suited to specific applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering