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Study of Microfluidic Devices for Dielectrophoresis Separation of Cells in Liquid


In the path to finding a cure for cancer and saving a life it is essential to detect the disease

in its early stages and to be able to eradicate it. In most cases of cancer, the disease is not

detected until it is in later stages and has metastasized to vital organs. However, with current

advances in medicine the doctors are able to extend the life expectancy of the patient through the

use of chemotherapy drugs, radiation therapy and radical surgeries. Currently the focus of the

researchers has been put on developing immunotherapy drugs, which are targeted therapies.

Chemotherapy has been a somewhat effective therapy, but the side effects of chemotherapy are

often too much to bear, loss of hair, loss of appetite, severe nausea, and lack of energy all

contribute to a lower quality of life.

In order for the scientist to be able to design targeted therapies with much less side effect

and higher rate of success in curing or managing the disease they need be able to have access to

the cancer cells in the early stages of the disease. They need to be able to study the cell and its

genomic makeup.

The objective of this research is to find a more effective and accurate way of screening for

cancer cells, isolating and collecting them. Through the design of microfluidic devices, one can

hope to be able to detect the circulating tumor cells in the blood, trap them and separate them

from the other contents of blood for study.

The ultimate objective of this project is to design and fabricate a device capable of using

Dielectophoresis to separate cancer cells from blood cells accurately. The design of the

Microfluidic devices is done using the software SolidWorks, the simulation is ran using the

software COMSOL, and the fabrication is done in the lab using photolithography. However due

to the time constraints and not having the required trainings or certificates for handling live cells

and blood specimens this project was not tested with cancer cells.

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