Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Cell-Detection System Promising for Medical Research, Diagnostics

Published: Thursday, October 03, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, October 03, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Researchers are developing a system that uses tiny magnetic beads to quickly detect rare types of cancer cells circulating in a patient's blood.

While other researchers have used magnetic beads for similar applications, the new “high-throughput" system has the ability to quickly process and analyze large volumes of blood or other fluids, said Cagri Savran (pronounced Chary Savran), an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.

He is working with oncologists at the Indiana University School of Medicine to further develop the technology, which recently was highlighted in the journal Lab on a Chip.

The approach combines two techniques: immunomagnetic separation and microfluidics. In immunomagnetic separation, magnetic beads about a micron in diameter are "functionalized," or coated with antibodies that recognize and attach to antigens on the surface of target cells.

The researchers functionalized the beads to recognize breast cancer and lung cancer cells in laboratory cultures.

"We were able to detect cancer cells with up to a 90 percent yield," said Savran, working with Purdue postdoctoral fellow Chun-Li Chang and medical researchers Shadia Jalal and Daniela E. Matei from the IU School of Medicine's Department of Medicine. "We expect this system to be useful in a wide variety of settings, including detection of rare cells for clinical applications."

Previous systems using immunomagnetic separation to isolate cells required that the cells then be transferred to another system to be identified, counted and studied.

"What's new here is that we've built a system that can perform all of these steps on one chip," said Savran, also an associate professor of biomedical engineering. "It both separates cells and also places them on a chip surface so you can count them and study them with a microscope."

Another innovation is the fast processing, he said. Other "microfluidic" chips are unable to quickly process large volumes of fluid because they rely on extremely narrow channels, which restrict fluid flow.

"The circulating cancer cells are difficult to detect because very few of them are contained in blood," Savran said. "That means you have to use as many magnetic beads as practically possible to quickly screen and process a relatively large sample, or you won't find these cells."

The new design passes the fluid through a chamber that allows for faster flow; a standard 7.5-milliliter fluid sample can run through the system in a matter of minutes.

The Purdue portion of the research is based at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue's Discovery Park.

The beads are directed by a magnetic field to a silicon mesh containing holes 8 microns in diameter. Because the target cells are so sparse, many of the beads fail to attract any and pass through the silicon mesh. The beads that have attached to cells are too large to pass through the holes in the mesh.

If needed, the cells can quickly be flushed from the system for further analysis simply by turning off the magnetic field.

"Not only can the cells be readily retrieved for further usage, the chip can be re-used for subsequent experiments," Savran said.

The technology also could be used to cull other types of cells.

"This is not only for cancer applications," he said.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Mass Spectrometry Tool Helps Guide Brain Cancer Surgery
A tool to help brain surgeons test and more precisely remove cancerous tissue was successfully used during surgery, according to a Purdue University and Brigham and Women's Hospital study.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Helping Genes Get Out of the Starting Blocks Faster
Yeast can quickly adapt to changes in its environment with the help of molecules known as long non-coding RNAs, a Purdue study shows.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Purdue Innovation could Improve Personalized Cancer-Care Outcomes
An innovation could improve therapy selection for personalized cancer care by helping specialists better identify the most effective drug treatment combinations for patients.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Nanoparticles, 'pH Phoresis' Could Improve Cancer Drug Delivery
Researchers have developed a concept to potentially improve delivery of drugs for cancer treatment using nanoparticles.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
New Imaging Technology Could Reveal Cellular Secrets
Researchers have married two biological imaging technologies, creating a new way to learn how good cells go bad.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Yeast Study Yields Potential for New Cholesterol, Anti-Fungal Drugs
While studying a mutant strain of yeast, Purdue University researchers may have found a new target for drugs to combat cholesterol and fungal diseases.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Gene's function May Give New Target for Cancer Drugs
Scientists have determined that a gene long known to be involved in cancer cell formation and chemotherapy resistance is key to proper RNA creation, and could one day lead to new therapies and drug targets.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Imaging Tool Tracks Carbon Nanotubes in Living Cells
Researchers have demonstrated a new imaging tool for tracking structures called carbon nanotubes in living cells and the bloodstream, which could aid efforts to perfect their use in biomedical research and clinical medicine.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Genome Sequencing Speeds Ability to Improve Soybeans
Purdue researchers are sequencing the soybean genome to better understand its genes and to improve its characteristics.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Scientific News
Genetic Defences of Bacteria Don’t Aid Antibiotic Resistance
Genetic responses to the stresses caused by antibiotics don’t help bacteria to evolve a resistance to the medications, according to a new study by Oxford University researchers.
Tolerant Immune System Increases Cancer Risk
Researchers have found that individuals with high immunoCRIT ratios may have an increased risk of developing certain cancers.
Developing a Gel that Mimics Human Breast for Cancer Research
Scientists at the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham have been funded to develop a gel that will match many of the biological structures of human breast tissue, to advance cancer research and reduce animal testing.
Lung Repair and Regeneration Gene Discovered
New role for hedgehog gene offers better understanding of lung disease.
3 Ways Viruses Have Changed Science for the Better
Viruses are really good at what they do, and we’ve been able to harness their skills to learn about – and potentially improve – human health in several ways.
Mixed Up Cell Transportation Key Piece of ALS and Dementia Puzzle
Researchers from the University of Toronto are one step closer to solving this incredibly complex puzzle, offering hope for treatment.
New Gene Therapy for Vision Loss From a Mitochondrial Disease
NIH-funded study shows success in targeting mitochondrial DNA in mice.
Five New Genetic Variants Linked to Brain Cancer Identified
The biggest ever study of DNA from people with glioma – the most common form of brain cancer – has discovered five new genetic variants associated with the disease.
Predictive Model for Breast Cancer Progression
Biomedical engineers have demonstrated a proof-of-principle technique that could give women and their oncologists more personalized information to help them choose options for treating breast cancer.
Fatty Liver Disease and Scarring Have Strong Genetic Component
Researchers say that hepatic fibrosis, which involves scarring of the liver that can result in dysfunction and, in severe cases, cirrhosis and cancer, may be as much a consequence of genetics as environmental factors.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos