The Dicty World Race is possible because of recent engineering advances, which borrow technologies from the electronic industry and adapts them to build mazes sized to cell dimensions. The microfluidic devices we design enable us to measure cell migration with higher precision than ever before. We can now measure not only how fast individual cells move towards a target, but their accuracy navigating around obstacles and finding the shortest path towards a target.
Fourteen participating teams engineered Dicty and HL60 cells to run through the mazes. More than 400 cells finished the race in the 3-hour observation time. HL60 cells were overall twice as fast as Dicty cells. However, Dicty cells were better at finding the shortest path through the maze.