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Anal Chem. 2009 Sep 1;81(17):7436-42. doi: 10.1021/ac9012072.

Aptamer-based microfluidic device for enrichment, sorting, and detection of multiple cancer cells.

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Center for Research at the Bio/Nano Interface, Department of Chemistry, Shands Cancer Center, UF Genetics Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611-7200, USA.


The ability to diagnose cancer based on the detection of rare cancer cells in blood or other bodily fluids is a significant challenge. To address this challenge, we have developed a microfluidic device that can simultaneously sort, enrich, and then detect multiple types of cancer cells from a complex sample. The device, which is made from poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), implements cell-affinity chromatography based on the selective cell-capture of immobilized DNA-aptamers and yields a 135-fold enrichment of rare cells in a single run. This enrichment is achieved because the height of the channel is on the order of a cell diameter. The sorted cells grow at the comparable rate as cultured cells and are 96% pure based on flow cytometry determination. Thus, by using our aptamer based device, cell capture is achieved simply and inexpensively, with no sample pretreatment before cell analysis. Enrichment and detection of multiple rare cancer cells can be used to detect cancers at the early stages, diagnose metastatic relapse, stratify patients for therapeutic purposes, monitor response to drugs and therapies, track tumor progression, and gain a deeper understanding of the biology of circulating tumor cells (CTCs).

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