Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are identified in transit within the blood stream of cancer patients and have been proven to be a main cause of metastatic disease. Current approaches for the size-based isolation of CTCs have encountered technical challenges as some of the CTCs have a size similar to that of leukocytes and therefore CTCs are often lost in the process. Here, we propose a novel strategy where most of the CTCs are coated by a large number of microbeads to amplify their size to enable complete discrimination from leukocytes. In addition, all of the microbead labeling processes are carried out in a continuous manner to prevent any loss of CTCs during the isolation process. Thus, a microfluidic mixer was employed to facilitate the efficient and selective labeling of CTCs from peripheral blood samples. By generating secondary vortex flows called TaylorGortler vortices perpendicular to the main flow direction in our microfluidic device, CTCs were continuously and successfully coated with anti-epithelial cell adhesion molecule-conjugated beads. After the continuous labeling, the enlarged CTCs were perfectly trapped in a micro-filter whereas all of the leukocytes escaped.
Lin, Ming Xian, Kyung-A Hyun, Hui-Sung Moon, Tae Seok Sim, Jeong-Gun Lee, Jae Chan Park, Soo Suk Lee, Hyo-Il Jung
Biosensors and Bioelectronics