University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Engineering Department Bio- and Micromechanics Seminars > Cell Mechanics Based Microfluidics for Disease Diagnosis & Therapy: From Bench to Bedside

Cell Mechanics Based Microfluidics for Disease Diagnosis & Therapy: From Bench to Bedside

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  • UserProf. Chwee Teck (C.T.) Lim, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical Institute for Global Health Research and Technology, Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore
  • ClockWednesday 29 May 2019, 14:00-15:00
  • HouseLR6, Department of Engineering.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Hilde Fernandez.

There are approximately 5 billion cells in one milliliter of blood with red blood cells (RBCs) accounting for >99% of all cellular components. Besides blood constituents, pathogenic microorganisms or diseased cells can also be present in peripheral blood. In fact, this is of clinical significance as their presence in blood can present possible routes for disease detection, diagnosis and even therapy. However, the presence of the large number of RBCs complicates removal of pathogens in blood as well as makes disease diagnosis such as detection of rare circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in blood of cancer patients extremely challenging. Here, we address these issues and demonstrate that physical biomarkers such as cell size and deformability can be effectively used for diseased cell detection (for diagnosis) as well as separation (for therapy) from blood using microfluidics by leveraging on its many inherent advantages such as high sensitivity and spatial resolution, short processing time and low device cost. We developed a suite of microfluidic biochips that exploit the principles of size/deformability based separation as well as inertial focusing to allow for high throughput continual detection and separation of diseased cells such as bacteria, malaria infected red blood cells and CTCs. We will showcase examples of diagnosis of cancer via the detection and retrieval of CTCs from peripheral blood of patients via a routine blood draw (aka liquid biopsy), detection of malaria infected red blood cells as well as therapy by demonstrating the extracorporeal removal of bacteria from blood. These simple, efficient and cost effective microfluidic platforms will be imperative in realizing point-of-care (POC) diagnostics as well as the enrichment of clinical samples for subsequent downstream molecular analyses. Some of these devices have since been commercialized.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Bio- and Micromechanics Seminars series.

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