Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Advances in Cancer Detection Featured in Microfluidics Journal

28.01.2010
New advances for the detection of cancer led by Rafael V. Davalos of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Science (SBES) are featured as the cover story in the January 19, 2010 Royal Society of Chemistry’s magazine, “Lab on a Chip,” the premier journal for researchers in microfluidics. http://www.rsc.org/Publishing/Journals/lc/index.asp

Microfluidics is the behavior of fluids at the microscale level. A relatively new technology, it had already shown promise in revolutionizing certain procedures in molecular biology and in proteomics, among other fields.

Building upon novel technology developed while working on Homeland Security projects at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) as well as from his biomedical graduate student days at the University of California, Berkeley, Davalos, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Virginia Tech, is now creating unique microsystems that are showing considerable promise for the detection of cancer and for the study of the progression of this disease. http://www.sbes.vt.edu/people/faculty/primary/davalos.html

Specifically, Davalos helped engineer microsystems for the detection of water-borne pathogens using a technique called dielectrophoresis (DEP) in the early part of this decade. DEP separates and identifies cells and microparticles suspended in a medium based on their size and electrical properties.

Using the technology that can detect bacteria in water, Davalos continues to work with his colleague at Sandia, Blake A. Simmons, vice president, Deconstruction of the Joint BioEnergy Institute and manager of the Energy Systems Department at SNL. Together, they hypothesized that the technology could be reconfigured to detect cancer cells by injecting a blood or saliva sample into their microfluidic chip to screen for cancer, based on the cancer cells electrical signatures.

“Unfortunately, the direct translation was not possible due to applying high electric fields in conductive physiological solutions such as blood as compared to tap water,” Davalos said. However, the lessons learned and engineering that went into developing robust and reliable microsystems at SNL was instrumental in motivating his team to come up with a viable solution – called contactless dielectrophoresis (cDEP).

Today, Davalos, an award-winning assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Virginia Tech, along with his graduate students and co-authors of the paper, Hadi Shafiee, John Caldwell, Erin A. Henslee, and Michael Sano, all of Blacksburg, have found a way to provide “the non-uniform electric field required for DEP that does not require electrodes to contact the sample fluid.”

They named their variation cDEP since it does not require electrodes to contact the sample fluid; instead electrodes are capacitively coupled to a fluidic channel in his device through barriers that act as insulators. High-frequency electric fields are then applied to these electrodes, inducing an electric field in a channel in the device. Their initial studies illustrate the potential of this technique to identify cells through their unique electrical responses without fear of contamination from electrodes or significant joule heating.

The significance of this work is it “enables a robust method to screen for targeted cells based on the dielectrophoretic properties from an entire blood sample rather than a few microliters,” Davalos, the director of Virginia Tech’s Bioelectromechanical Systems Laboratory, explained.

The paper accepted by the publication “Lab on a Chip” is titled ”Selective isolation of live/dead cells using contactless dielectrophoresis (cDEP).”

“With the microfluidic devices, the researchers are able to selectively isolate a targeted cell type and let the others float by,” Davalos, the 2006 recipient of the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award for Most Promising Engineer or Scientist, said. The behavior of living cancer cells was observed to be significantly different from those of their dead counterparts within the device.

“I’m really proud of my students. Our vision would not have been realized without their ability to engineer some crazy ideas,” he said.

Davalos’ work in this area is supported by the Virginia Tech Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science. http://www.ictas.vt.edu/index.shtml

Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. As the nation’s third largest producer of engineers with baccalaureate degrees, undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a hands-on, minds-on approach to engineering education. It complements classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 2,000 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study, including biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology. http://www.eng.vt.edu/main/index.php

Lynn A. Nystrom | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.vt.edu
http://www.eng.vt.edu/main/index.php

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Show me your leaves - Health check for urban trees
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht Liver Cancer: Lipid Synthesis Promotes Tumor Formation
12.12.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>