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Integrated Micro/Nanotechnology to Investigate Circulating Tumor Cells

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Friday, October 2, 2020 3:00pm

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Biomedical Engineering Graduate Seminar

Hyeun Joong Yoon

Lecturer, Biomedical Engineering
Michigan Technological University

Abstract: To invent new and more effective ways to address cancer, multidisciplinary research is an essential driver for innovation. By combining the research strengths of both engineering and medicine, new approaches and insights into cancer research can be effectively achieved. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are low frequency cells found in the blood stream after having been shed from a primary tumor. These cells are research targets because of the information they may potentially provide about both an individual cancer as well as the mechanisms through which cancer spreads in the process of metastasis. However, the limited sensitivity and specificity of current methods for measuring and studying these cells in patient blood samples prevent the realization of their full clinical potential. The use of microfluidic devices is a promising method for isolating CTCs to address these limitations. I will present an effective approach to isolating CTCs from blood samples of breast cancer patients, by using the microfluidic device. Additionally, I will discuss an orthogonal strategy: a high throughput label-free cell separation device, also for the enrichment of CTCs. By utilizing the balance between various hydrodynamic forces, this label-free process is promising for the separation of CTCs based on the size difference of CTCs and other blood cells. These microfluidic devices exploit various characteristics of this heterogeneous rare cell population, allowing for the downstream analysis required to expand the frontiers of cancer research.

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