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U.S. Scientists have created MicroChip to capture cancer cells of blood and calculate their number. The MicroChip device is developed by a U.S. based Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s research team, could find broad therapeutic and diagnostic uses in the detection of rare types of cells like foetal, cancer cells, also viruses & bacteria.
According to the researchers, their “MicroChip” is able to “catch” about 60-80% of the total number of cancer cells in a blood sample, which is almost 10 times greater than when using similar devices. Lead researcher Jeffrey Karp believes that the invention can be adapted to search for other types of cancer cells and particles, including stem cells.
“The greatest beauty of this technology is in its universality. We can easily change the length and density of the DNA strands, you can add other sequences of nucleotides that will capture other types of cells, “- conveys the words of one of the participants in the experiment.
The MicroChip has microscopic holes, the surface of which is covered with protrusions in the form of Christmas trees or ladders. The parties protrusions attached long repeated DNA sequences, Aptamers, joining protein “tails” on the surface of cancer cells.
‘The MicroChip we have developed is highly sensitive. From just a tiny amount of blood, the chip can detect and capture the small population of cancer cells responsible for cancer relapse,’ said Dr Weian Zhao, a postdoctoral fellow from the Karp lab who is now faculty at the University of California, Irvine, and first study author.
To search for and catch cancer cells, scientists applied a small amount of the patient’s blood onto a plate and allow it to flow through the grid of pinholes. Staircase of ledges turbulence in the blood flow, increasing the chances of a collision of cancer cells and DNA strands. Then “stuck” cancer cells are extracted with the help of enzymes.
‘What most people don’t realize is that it is the metastasis that kills, not the primary tumor,’ said Karp. ‘Our device has the potential to catch these cells in the act with its “tentacles” before they may seed a new tumor in a distant organ.’
‘One of the greatest challenges in the treatment of cancer patients is to know which drug to prescribe,’ said Karp. ‘By isolating circulating tumor cells before and after the first round of chemotherapy is given, we can determine the biology behind why certain cells are resistant to chemotherapy. We can also use the isolated cells to screen drugs for personalized treatments that could boost the effectiveness and hopefully prevent cancer relapse.’