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Center for Engineering in Medicine
The research thrust of the Cell Sorting and Diagnosis Group at the Center for Engineering in Medicine is to develop point-of-care devices for capturing circulating tumor cells from the peripheral blood of cancer patients.
•Mehmet Toner, PhD•Shannon Stott, PhD •Daniel Irimia, MD, PhD•Martin Yarmush, MD, PhD•Ron Tompkins, MD, ScD •N. Murat Karabacak, PhD
We are developing point-of-care devices using microfluidic technologies for capturing circulating tumor cells from peripheral blood of cancer patients.
These cells, called circulating tumor cells (CTCs), provide a cellular link between the primary malignant tumor and the metastatic sites, and thus, the ability to non-invasively isolate CTCs from the blood of cancer patients has far-reaching diagnostic, prognostic, therapeutic and basic cancer biology implications.
The major challenge for such isolation stems from the fact that CTCs are very rare in patients with cancer, comprising as few as only 1 to 10 cells/mL of blood, beyond the limits of current cell separation technologies.
Recently, we have developed a novel microfluidic platform capable of selective separation of CTCs from the peripheral blood of cancer patients. Using this technology, we successfully demonstrated the capture of CTCs from patients with lung, prostate, colon or pancreatic tumors.
This technological advance has important clinical implications and ultimately could be applied as a point-of-care high-throughput diagnostic device, and for longitudinal follow-up of cancer patients for tailored targeted therapy.
Examples of ongoing projects include:
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