NanoDay 2021 – Poster 29 – Pablo Dopico


A Lateral Filter Array Microfluidic Device for the Isolation of Circulating Tumor Cells

Pablo Dopico

Authors: Pablo Dopico, Kangfu Chen, Jose Varillas, Thomas George, Z, Hugh Fan

Faculty Mentor: Z. Hugh Fan, PhD

College: College of Engineering

Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Isolation methods of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from whole blood typically rely on either immunoaffinity or size-based separation. Immunoaffinity isolation targets biomarkers on the cell surface of CTCs. As a result, immunoaffinity methods may fail to isolate CTCs under-expressing surface markers of interest. Size-based methods utilize filters that are large enough for non-CTC blood cells to pass through, but small enough to capture CTCs. However, there is substantial overlap in the size of CTCs and white blood cells (WBCs), requiring that size-based isolation methods either miss CTC with a size less than the filter geometry designed or capture a substantial number of WBCs. We have developed a lateral filter array microfluidic (LFAM) device that integrates size-based separation with immunoaffinity-based isolation. The LFAM device consists of a series of lateral filters surface coated with antibodies targeting CTCs. The filters are sized such that cells are forced to interact with antibodies on the surface of the filters. This design captures CTCs either due to their size or surface marker expression. We have demonstrated that our LFAM device can capture tumor cells both through immunoaffinity and size-based isolation. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that the LFAM device improves CTC capture from blood samples of cancer patients when compared to a microfluidic device using either immunoaffinity alone.