Researchers at UCI have developed a novel microfluidic-based platform that enables personalized drug screening of patient-derived cancer cells. This versatile device features real-time, continuous screening of patient samples without the need for expensive labeling reagents, large sample sizes, or bulky readout equipment.
·Personalized drug screening for cancer
·Determining drug efficacy
·Label-free & long lifespan reagents: Cancer cells are electrically captured and analyzed without the need for expensive, specialized labeling or capture reagents.
·Small sample requirement: Populations down to the single cell are analyzable in this device, eliminating the need to grow cells before analysis.
·No bulky equipment: required equipment are small, inexpensive, and simple relative to similar optical devices.
·Scalable & versatile platform: technology is readily integrated with other microfluidic or sample preparation methods, and can be scaled up to simultaneously investigate therapeutic agents, cell types, or drug dosages.
Cancer as a disease varies by person, by tissue (e.g. lung vs. stomach), and even by cell within a single tumor. This heterogeneity makes developing and screening anti-cancer treatments that are broadly effective difficult. Recently, the field has addressed the need for highly personalized cancer treatment with microfluidic-based devices. These devices enable doctors to collect an individual patient’s cells and test multiple drugs and dosages directly to see how much of which therapeutics will be effective.
Many existing microfluidic devices for personalized cancer drug screening are limited due to expensive, sensitive optical labels, complex microfabricated structures, and specialized equipment requiring a highly-skilled user. Researchers at UCI have developed a novel solution: a microfluidic-based platform that enables personalized drug screening on a patient’s unique cancer cells. This versatile device features real-time, continuous screening of patient samples without the need for expensive labeling reagents, large sample sizes, or bulky complex readout equipment. Briefly, a patient’s cancer cells are selectively captured onto the device by exploiting simple, yet effective, microfabrication and electrical technologies. Cells are then treated with a therapeutic and monitored for cell death or drug resistance, the key determinant of a cancer drug’s efficacy.
Prototype has been developed and in vitro studies carried out. Proof-of-concept studies were performed on a commercial colorectal cancer cell line (HCT116) with a chemotherapeutic agent. Label-free capture of cancer cells was successfully demonstrated, as well as a difference in electrical signal upon treatment of cells with the drug, which was confirmed with a follow-up standard optical assay for cell death.