Rare cell capture from blood is exciting owing to the potential to derive clinical benefit with minimal inconvenience and discomfort to patients. Information derived from rare cells (e.g., fetal cells in mothers or cancer cells in cancer patients) can be used in lieu of information from biopsies and thus improve patient outcomes.
Microfluidic devices are ideally suited for these processes, owing to the flexibility of geometric design, wealth of chemical manipulation techniques, and assay compatibility of current systems. Stokes flow analysis is often a good predictor of the flows in these systems.
Our current work, in collaboration with Neil Bander, Evi Giannakakou, and David Nanus at Weill Cornell Medical Center, is focused on microfluidic capture of circulating tumor cells from prostate cancer patients with a view towards preclinical evaluation of chemotherapeutic efficacy.