Microfluidic cancer test leverages SU2C boost

Massachusetts General Hospital researchers were among five "Dream Teams" selected from 237 submissions by Stand Up to Cancer.

Feb 1st, 2011

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH; Boston, MA) researchers were among five "Dream Teams" selected from 237 submissions by Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C; www.standup2cancer.org) who received grants to bring ground-breaking cancer technologies from the lab to the bedside. Officially entitled "Bioengineering and Clinical Applications of Circulating Tumor Cells Chip," the MGH project aims to eventually commercialize its circulating-tumor-cell (CTC) technology—a microfluidic chip technology sensitive enough to detect a single cancer cell among a billion blood cells under test.

The first-generation CTC-chip consists of a lithographically fabricated microfluidic channel layer and a second herringbone-patterned layer, both created in photoresist on a silicon wafer. The herringbone pattern passively mixes blood cells by generating microvortices that increase the number of interactions between tumor cells and the surface of the chip, which is coated with antibodies that attract the fluorescent-dye-labeled cancer cells. Fluorescence microscopy then identifies the cancerous tumor cells within the analyzed blood mixture. Next-generation designs to improve sensitivity and clinical user-friendliness are in process. Contact Mehmet Toner atmtoner@hms.harvard.edu.


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