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Int J Nanomedicine. 2006;1(3):333-7.

Rapid assessment of early biophysical changes in K562 cells during apoptosis determined using dielectrophoresis.

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  • 1Centre for Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK.


Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is a vital cellular process responsible for causing cells to self-terminate at the end of their useful life. Abrogation of this process is commonly linked to cancer, and rapid detection of apoptosis in vitro is vital to the discovery of new anti-cancer drugs. In this paper, we describe the application of the electrical phenomenon dielectrophoresis for detecting apoptosis at very early stages after drug induction, on the basis of changes in electrophysiological properties. Our studies have revealed that K562 (human myelogenous leukemia) cells show a persistent elevation in the cytoplasmic conductivity occurring as early as 30 minutes following exposure to staurosporine. This method therefore allows a far more rapid detection method than existing biochemical marker methods.

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