To Help Spot Cancer, Microfluidic Device That Can Separate Circulating Tumor Cells By Size
Tumor ends up spreading everywhere in the body due to the cells that they shed. These circulating tumor cells (CTCs) end up traveling throughout the body through the personrsquo;s bloodstream. Apart from causing cancers to metastasize to even the most far off places in the body, these CTCs also make up for great biomarkers for helping detect the existence of tumors in a person. These CTCs are usually detected with the help of a process call liquid biopsy, an exceptionally difficult process pertaining to the extreme rarity of CTCs which make them tough to detect.
In order to address this challenge, a microfuidic device that can separate the cells found in whole blood by their size, effectively helping to identify the presence of CTCs; has been developed. The device is a result of collaborated efforts of researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the researchers from Queensland university of Technology of Australia.
The new device carries various advantages over the existing technologies for spotting CTCs. One of the glaring benefits is the inexpensiveness of the production of the new device and considering that molecular tags are not used there is no need for a lab tech to prepare samples, recuing costs even more. Additionally the new device works on the principles of inertial migration and shear- induced diffusion. This forces the cells of various sizes to move towards different locations within the liquid that moves through the microfluidic device.
In 5 millimeter samples of normal blood, the researchers added 10 small- cell- lung cancer cells in a laboratory experiment. As much as 93% of the cancer cells originally added by the researchers were successfully pulled out after running the blood samples through the device. Such levels of efficacy cannot be matched by the existing CTC systems.