"Capturing Cells that Kill: Isolation of Circulating Tumor Cell Clusters from Patient Blood using a Microfluidic Chip"
Fatih Sarioglu, Ph.D.
Microelectronics/Microsystems & Bioengineering
Cancer is the result of a cascade of multi-scale events originating from anomalies at the cellular and molecular level. As such, analysis at the cellular and molecular level offers exciting opportunities for detecting cancer while it is still manageable and for gaining biological insight to develop effective therapies. Well matched in size, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) are ideally suited for this purpose and they offer unique capabilities from highly localized and deterministic sample manipulation to precise quantitative measurements. Leveraging these capabilities, biomedical microsystems hold great promise to revolutionize the way we research, detect and treat cancer. In my talk, I will introduce a microfluidic chip technology to specifically isolate circulating tumor cell-clusters (CTC-clusters), a highly metastatic precursor population within CTCs, from unprocessed patient blood. This device enables non-destructive, antigen-independent isolation of CTC-clusters with high sensitivity and purity as well as viable retrieval of CTC-clusters in solution (off the chip) allowing downstream molecular assays. I will describe the design and operation of the device and share results from clinical studies on patients with metastatic melanoma, breast and prostate cancers.
Motivated by healthcare and biomedical research needs, our lab is developing technologies for investigating and manipulating biological systems on the micro and nanoscale. Using advanced fabrication techniques, we build devices that utilize microfluidics, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), optics, electronics and signal processing. Through multidisciplinary collaborations, we use these technologies as clinical microdevices for disease detection and monitoring and as bioanalytical instruments for high-throughput molecular and cellular analysis.