Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New device isolates most aggressive cancer cells


Not all cancer cells are created equal – some stay put in the primary tumor, while others move and invade elsewhere. A major goal for cancer research is predicting which cells will metastasize, and why.

A Cornell cancer research team is taking a new approach to screening for these dangerous cells, using a microfluidic device they invented that isolates only the most aggressive, metastatic cells.

“The approach we’ve taken is a reverse approach from what is conventionally done,” said Cynthia Reinhart-King, associate professor of biomedical engineering and senior author of the recently published Technology Journal paper describing the research.

“Instead of looking at what molecules are being expressed by the tumor, we’re looking for the phenotype – that is, the behavior – of individual cells first. Then we can determine what molecules are causing that behavior.”

Typically, searching for biomarkers of metastasis has focused on screening for certain molecules or genes expressed by large numbers of migrating cancer cells. The problem is that it’s easy to miss subtle differences in the tiny subpopulations of cells that are the most aggressive.

Taking, for example, 100 tumors and seeking out molecular biomarkers for metastasis, one particular molecule might be identified as being “upregulated” in those tumors, Reinhart-King said. But it’s not the whole tumor expressing that particular molecule – some cells express the biomarker and some do not.

The researchers decided to first sort cells with the most aggressive behavior, and analyze only them for molecular changes. Their innovation is a microfluidic device that contains side channels to wash out the less aggressive cells, while herding the more aggressive ones into a separate channel.

For their proof-of-concept, the researchers screened for cells with migratory responses to Epidermal Growth Factor, for which the receptor is known to be present in most human cancers and is tightly linked to poor prognosis.

“The thing we’re most excited about, in addition to the physical device, is the conceptual framework we’re using by trying to shift gears and screen for cells that are causing the worst parts of the disease,” Reinhart-King said. The device could also be used in other applications of tissue engineering, inflammation and wound healing. 

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews. For additional information, see this Cornell Chronicle story.

Melissa Osgood | Eurek Alert!
Further information:

Further reports about: behavior biomarkers genes metastasis microfluidic migrating phenotype tiny tumors

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Infrared thermography can detect joint inflammation and help improving work ergonomics
02.10.2015 | University of Eastern Finland

nachricht MRI technique could reduce need for breast biopsies
29.09.2015 | Radiological Society of North America

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New Sinumerik features improve productivity and precision

EMO 2015, Hall 3, Booth E06/F03

  • Drive optimization called automatically by the part program boosts productivity
  • Automatically switching the dynamic values to rapid traverse and interpolation...

Im Focus: LZH presents additive manufacturing at the LABVOLUTION

The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will present how laser-based technologies can contribute to the laboratory of the future at the LABVOLUTION in Hannover in Hall 9, Stand E67/09, from October 6th to 8th, 2015. As a part of the model lab smartLAB, the LZH is showing how additive manufacturing, better known as 3-D printing, can make experimental setups more flexible.

Twelve partners from science and industry are presenting an intelligent and innovative model lab at the special display smartLAB. A part of this intelligent...

Im Focus: New polymer creates safer fuels

Before embarking on a transcontinental journey, jet airplanes fill up with tens of thousands of gallons of fuel. In the event of a crash, such large quantities of fuel increase the severity of an explosion upon impact.

Researchers at Caltech and JPL have discovered a polymeric fuel additive that can reduce the intensity of postimpact explosions that occur during accidents and...

Im Focus: 3-D printing techniques help surgeons carve new ears

When surgical residents need to practice a complicated procedure to fashion a new ear for children without one, they typically get a bar of soap, carrot or an apple.

To treat children with a missing or under-developed ear, experienced surgeons harvest pieces of rib cartilage from the child and carve them into the framework...

Im Focus: Walk the line

NASA studies physical performance after spaceflight

Walking an obstacle course on Earth is relatively easy. Walking an obstacle course on Earth after being in space for six months is not quite as simple. The...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing healthcare and sustainably strengthening healthcare systems

01.10.2015 | Event News

Conference in Brussels: Tracking and Tracing the Smallest Marine Life Forms

30.09.2015 | Event News

World Alzheimer`s Day – Professor Willnow: Clearer Insights into the Development of the Disease

17.09.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Infrared thermography can detect joint inflammation and help improving work ergonomics

02.10.2015 | Medical Engineering

Semiconductor nanoparticles show high luminescence in a polymer matrix

02.10.2015 | Materials Sciences

New Sinumerik features improve productivity and precision

02.10.2015 | Trade Fair News

More VideoLinks >>>