Microfluidic Device for Circulating Tumor Cell Liquid Biopsy

Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) separation from the bloodstream for early diagnosis and prevention of malignant tumor spread; post-metastasis remains a major challenge. There is tradeoff in the existing systems between capture efficiency and processing volume and bridging this gap is of essence in order to develop real-time, point-of-care devices which can rapidly provide quantitative results.

This project was started by me under the guidance and support of Prof. Soumitra Satapathi (Assoc. Prof. Department of Physics, IITR) and Prof. Partha Roy (Prof. Dept. of Biotechnology, IITR), and has come a long way since. We have successfuly fabricated the microfluidic devices using am in-house developed Multijet 3D Printing approach to make the moulds, which was optimised during first the two years of my undergrad work. We have tested the stability of laminar flow in the device and its biocompatibility. Furthermore, 5000+ USD have been raised recently from govermnent funding in order to purchase the necessary equipment and the fluorescent Ep-CAM antibodies for on-chip detection and isolation of CTCs via magnetophoresis. We plan to isolate Ep-CAM labelled CTCs via magentophoresis in a flow-focusing device, with the CTCs flowing in the sheath flow. This would provide a fine-control over capture efficiency and throughput volume.

Figure 1. An early protoype of the device (a), stable laminar flow in the device (b), COMSOL simulations of flow velocity (c), and cell trajectories (CTC in blue) (d).

Project Status: Ongoing