Passive rare cell detection device.


In collaboration with the University of Liverpool (UoL) and Harman Technology Ltd, Optima have developed a rare cell separation device for use in specialist diagnostics and medical research.

There is an increased demand for cell based therapies, however identifying and sorting such cells has historically been extremely complex, requiring highly sensitive and expensive laboratory equipment. With the Cellect device, using techniques which utilise light-emitting photo sensitivity, targeting specific cells such as stem cells is now possible.


In 2011 the Cellect programme was restarted by Harman Technology in partnership with the TSB (Technology Strategy Board) and UoL. Optima were invited to continue development of the device with view to wide scale academic trialling in summer 2013 and broader commercial launch in 2014.

Howard Hopwood, Chairman of Harman Technology, explains:

“In the early stages of cancer, cells from a tumour are washed into the blood stream at very low concentrations. At the moment, although they can be detected, the machinery required is big, expensive and needs a very highly-skilled technician to operate.
Our idea is to use the properties of silver to separate those rare cells out from the bloodstream so the cancer can be diagnosed much earlier and then treated more effectively.”

“We believe we can extract cells at a concentration in excess of one in a million, which is very high. You can use that to assess diseases at a very early stage and to count cells to monitor how a disease is progressing. “I have a long term vision of a machine – something like a photo booth – which takes a blood sample and offers the user a menu of diseases that they would like to be tested for.”


The Cellect device has been tooled from our production optimised CAD, and is currently in extensive clinical trialing at the University of Manchester with view to full commercialisation.

Find out more about Cellect Biotech.

Please click here to view a recent press release regarding The Cellect Device.


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