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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Microfluidic Device for Capturing Circulating Tumor Cells

  • Author(s): Nikbakht, Nika
  • Advisor(s): Haun, Jered
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are cells that shed into the vasculature from a primary tumor and circulate in the bloodstream. CTCs can be used to elucidate the molecular characterization of the tumor cells and to gauge the efficiency of therapeutic treatment in metastatic carcinoma patients. They can also be used to determine the primary site of the tumor in areas where the tumor is undetectable with traditional oncological imaging. The detection of CTCs has a substantial value for prognostic and therapeutic implications, but they are not easily detected because of their low cell count. Because microfluidic devices are useful for cell detection and diagnosis, can be easily obtained, and are less invasive than tissue biopsies, we have developed a microfluidic platform to capture CTCs using multiple capture targets to achieve a higher cell capture. We can selectively isolate the cancer cells using specific antibodies to the antigen capture target on the surface of malignant cells. The capture efficiency was evaluated by the flow rate, cell count, and antibody immobilization. Cancer cell lines that were known to have high expression for targeted ligands, specifically HER2, EGFR, EpCAM, and MUC-1, were tested with antibodies specific to these ligands. We obtained capture efficiency with these different capture targets on a single channel. This allowed us to develop a device with four parallel capture channels to run in series with the anticipation of achieving higher cell capture.

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