Magnetic separation of acoustically focused cancer cells from blood for magnetographic templating and analysis.
Liquid biopsies hold enormous promise for the next generation of medical diagnoses. At the forefront of this effort, many are seeking to capture, enumerate and analyze circulating tumor cells (CTCs) as a means to prognosticate and develop individualized treatments for cancer. Capturing these rare cells, however, represents a major engineering challenge due to their low abundance, morphology and heterogeneity. A variety of microfluidic tools have been developed to isolate CTCs from drawn blood samples; however, few of these approaches offer a means to separate and analyze cells in an integrated system. We have developed a microfluidic platform comprised of three modules that offers high throughput separation of cancer cells from blood and on-chip organization of those cells for streamlined analyses. The first module uses an acoustic standing wave to rapidly align cells in a contact-free manner. The second module then separates magnetically labeled cells from unlabeled cells, offering purities exceeding 85% for cells and 90% for binary mixtures of synthetic particles. Finally, the third module contains a spatially periodic array of microwells with underlying micromagnets to capture individual cells for on-chip analyses (e.g., staining, imaging and quantification). This array is capable of capturing with accuracies exceeding 80% for magnetically labeled cells and 95% for magnetic particles. Overall, by virtue of its holistic processing of complex biological samples, this system has promise for the isolation and evaluation of rare cancer cells and can be readily extended to address a variety of applications across single cell biology and immunology.
Shields Iv, CW; Wang, JL; Ohiri, KA; Essoyan, ED; Yellen, BB; Armstrong, AJ; López, GP
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