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Microfluidics-imaging platform detects cancer growth signaling in minute biopsy samples
Date:11/1/2010

Inappropriate growth and survival signaling, which leads to the aberrant growth of cancer cells, is a driving force behind tumors. Much of current cancer research focuses on the kinase enzymes whose mutations are responsible for such disregulated signaling, and many successful molecularly targeted anti-cancer therapeutics are directed at inhibiting kinase activity.

Now, UCLA researchers from the Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging, the Institute for Molecular Medicine, the California NanoSystems Institute, the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the department of molecular and medical pharmacology have developed an in vitro method for assessing kinase activity in minute tissue samples from patients. The method involves an integrated microfluidics and imaging platform that can reproducibly measure kinase enzymatic activity from as few as 3,000 cells.

In a paper published Nov. 1 in the journal Cancer Research, the UCLA researchers describe several new technological advances in microfluidics and imaging detection they co-developed to measure kinase activity in small-input samples. The team applied their microfluidic kinase assay to human leukemia patient samples.

"Because the device requires only a very small tissue sample to give results, this method creates new potential for direct kinase experimentation and diagnostics on patient blood, bone marrow and needle biopsy samples," said lead investigator Thomas Graeber, a UCLA professor of molecular and medical pharmacology. "For example, the stem cell properties of leukemia can be directly studied from patient samples."

To improve radio-signal detection, the team used a novel imaging detector, in the form of a solid-state beta camera, which can sensitively detect and spatially resolve radioactive signal directly from a microfluidic chip. The beta camera provides a picture of the activity on the chip, allowing real-time monitoring of the assay performance a
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Contact: Jennifer Marcus
jmarcus@cnsi.ucla.edu
310-267-4839
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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