Circulating Tumor Cells: Capture with a Micromachined Device

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The isolation and analysis of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from blood is the subject of intense research. Tests to detect metastasis are available but progress is hampered by the lack of tumor-specific markers and predictable DNA abnormalities. CTCs from solid tumors can be separated from normal hematopoietic cells based on size and other inherent physical and biological properties. The main challenge in this endeavor is the small number of available cells of interest, 1-2 per ml in human whole blood. A micromachined device for fractioning whole blood using physical methods to enrich and/or isolate rare cell types from peripheral circulation was designed. It has four segments of microfluidic channels, each consisting of a 2-D array of columns. The gap between the columns narrows as cells traverse the device. Current devices have channels ranging in width from 20mm-5mm, and in depth from 20mm-5mm. When adult blood, spiked with cells from eight cancer cell lines was loaded into the device, all cancerous cells were retained in a well-defined area of the device while blood cells migrated to the output reservoir. These studies will advance non-invasive methods to monitor patients, stage disease, and assess treatment. Furthermore, insights into metastasis will be gained.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 1, Technical Proceedings of the 2005 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show, Volume 1
Published: May 8, 2005
Pages: 1 - 4
Industry sectors: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing | Medical & Biotech
Topics: Biomaterials, Cancer Nanotechnology
ISBN: 0-9767985-0-6