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Biosens Bioelectron. 2006 Apr 15;21(10):1907-14. Epub 2006 Mar 10.

Microsystems for isolation and electrophysiological analysis of breast cancer cells from blood.

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School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 777 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA.


This paper presents the development of a microsystem for separating suspended breast cancer cells in peripheral blood and for sorting them based on their electrophysiological characteristics. A continuous paramagnetic capture mode (PMC) magnetophoretic microseparator was utilized for the isolation of suspended breast cancer cells in peripheral blood based on the native magnetic properties of blood cells without any tagging such as with magnetic probes. A micro-electrical impedance spectroscopy (mu-EIS) system was used as a downstream cell analysis tool to extract the pathological characteristics from the breast cancer cells. The system was fabricated on silicon and glass substrates utilizing microfabrication and stereolithography technologies. The experimental results of the PMC microseparator show that 94.8% of the breast cancer cells could be continuously separated out from a spiked blood sample with a 0.2 T external magnetic flux. The electrical impedances of human breast cancer cell lines of different pathological stages (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, and MDA-MB-435) were measured using mu-EIS and compared to those of normal human breast tissue cell line MCF-10A.

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