Abstract

Significant research involving the isolation and detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) has become prevalent in the field of biomedicine. It plays a crucial role in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and has made substantial strides in recent years. A major event in the timeline of cancer is metastasis, a set of occurrences where cells are shed from a cancerous site, then flow through the circulatory system and seed themselves throughout the body, forming secondary tumors. There are few observable symptoms in the early stages of metastasis and this fact severely limits clinical treatment. The fabrication and preliminary testing of a magnetophoretic bioseparation chip capable of isolating and detecting CTCs from peripheral blood, which can aid in early detection of metastases, is presented in this work. MCF7 breast cancer cells along with superparamagnetic microparticles, which are specifically coated with anti-EpCAM to bind to the cancer cells, are spiked into a blood sample. After the spiked blood sample is introduced into the biochip, a locally engineered magnetic field gradient captures the magnetically labeled cancer cells while the non-target cells are allowed to pass by. Once the target cells are isolated from the blood sample, flow cytometry is used to determine the recovery rate of the magnetophoretic device. The proposed device can operate at continuous flow rates magnitudes higher than other CTC isolation devices and is fabricated using much simpler methods which make it quite unique. These properties combined with greater than 80% recovery rates make the device quite favorable for economic point of care use in clinical applications.

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