Researchers devise micro-fluidic probe to separate cancer spreading cells


Clinically, for cancer patients, during metastasis, the survival rate of cancer patients can drop to ten percent or even less. Therefore, it is important cancer to be diagnosed and treated before metastasis happens, or is in its early stages. For spread of cancer, messenger cells known as Circulating Tumor Cells break the original tumor and flow via the bloodstream to create secondary growth.

In a clinical study to comprehend this, a team of researchers at NYU Abu Dhabi have developed a new microfluidic system called Herringbone Microfluidic Probe that effectively isolates circulating tumor cells as well as cluster of circulating tumor cells from blood samples of cancer patients to gather easier and more valuable analysis.

The study titled “Herringbone Microfluidic Probe for Multiplexed Affinity-Capture of Prostate Circulating Tumor Cells, describes the process of creating Herringbone Microfluidic Probe tool. The tool uses different types of biorecognition molecules to detect and separate cells from blood samples. In terms of function, Herrungbone Microfluidic Probe works in an open configuration that does not involve close-channels, thus, eliminating several technical challenges associated with classical microfluidics. Resultantly, Herringbone Microfluidic Probe is mobile and scans above the capture substrate ornamented with different biorecognition receptors. A pen writing on a board under water and with zero contact, wherein the ink is the blood sample of the patient and board the biofunctionalized substrate for the capture of circulating tumor cells is an analogy.

In fact, for a milliliter of a patient’s blood sample, only a few circulating tumor cells exist within billions of healthy white blood cells and red blood cells.

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