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Catch and release
Date:11/12/2012

BOSTON, MAA research team at Brigham and Women's Hospital has developed a novel device that may one day have broad therapeutic and diagnostic uses in the detection and capture of rare cell types, such as cancer cells, fetal cells, viruses and bacteria. The device is inspired by the long, elegant appendages of sea creatures, such as jellyfish and sea cucumbers.

The study will be published online on November 12, 2012 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The device, a microchip, is inspired by a jellyfish's long, sticky tentacles that are used to capture miniscule food flowing in the water. The researchers designed a chip that uses a three-dimensional DNA network made up of long DNA strands with repetitive sequences thatlike the jellyfish tentaclescan detect, bind and capture certain molecules.

The researchers, led by Jeffrey Karp, PhD, BWH Division of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, senior study author, and Rohit Karnik, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, co-author, created the chip using a microfluidic surface and methods that allowed them to rapidly replicate long DNA strands with multiple targeting sites that can bind to cancer cells, but also custom tailor critical characteristics, such as DNA length and sequence which would allow them to target various cell types.

In this study, Karp and his team tested the chip using a DNA sequence that had a specific affinity to a cell-surface protein found abundantly in human cancer cells.

The researchers engineered the device to efficiently capture a higher quantity of cancer cells from whole blood patient samples at much higher flow rates compared to other methods that use shorter DNA strands or antibodies.

"The chip we have developed is highly sensitive. From just a tiny amount of blood, the chip can detect and capture the small population of cancer cells responsible for cancer re
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Contact: Marjorie Montemayor-Quellenberg
mmontemayor-quellenberg@partners.org
617-534-2208
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert  

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