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New device for identifying aggressive breast cancers
Date:9/28/2010

iginate from epithelial tissues) circulating in the blood demonstrated near-perfect ability to isolate circulating tumor cells across a range of cancers.

In a study supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council Australia, Benjamin Thierry and colleagues at the Ian Wark Research Institute at the University of South Australia developed a plastic-based disposable microfluidic device offering several improvements for capturing circulating tumor cells. The device is designed to take advantage of the features of an organic silicone found in contact lenses and shampoos called polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), which is compatible with soft molding techniques, transparent, and permeable to gasses.

The device is significantly easier and cheaper to make than the prior microfabricated one. The major challenge associated with PDMS use in biodiagnostic applications is its lack of chemical reactivity. The team used a novel plasma-based polymerization process to overcome that problem. The process creates a durable polymeric layer on the device's surface containing a high number of reactive molecules, which can readily be used to attach proteins able to capture cancer cells but not normal blood cells.

With a commonly used breast cancer cell line (SK-BR-3) as a model for cells overexpressing HER2, Dr. Thierry's device demonstrated an ~80% immuno-capture efficacy of HER positive cells from full blood in model and validation studies.

Thierry concluded, "Microfluidic-based devices offer a unique opportunity to efficiently isolate CTCs from patient's blood, thereby opening a window on the pathophysiology of cancer and its progression. We hope that our device will provide a fast, reliable and affordable methodology to establish HER2 status for breast cancer patients presenting metastases, thereby enabling the selection of more potent therapy based on trastuzumab. We are aiming to achieve clinical validation in the coming months and, with
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Contact: Jason Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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