Fabrication and Characterization of a Microfluidic Device to Ultrapurify Blood Samples
AdvisorsDi Fabrizio, Enzo M.
KAUST DepartmentPhysical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division
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AbstractThe improvement of blood cell sorting techniques in recent years have attracted the attention of many researchers due to the possible benefits that these methods can lead in biology, regenerative medicine, materials science and therapeutic area. In this work a cell sorting technique based on filtration is described. The separation occurs by means of a microfluidic device, suitably designed, manufactured and tested, that is connected to an external experimental set-up. The fabrication process can be divided in two parts: at first it is described the manufacturing process of a filtering membrane, with holes of specific size that allow the passage of only certain cell types. Following the microfluidic device is fabricated through the mechanical micromilling. The membrane and the microdevice are suitably bonded and tested by means of an external connection with syringe pumps that inject blood samples at specific flow rates. The device is designed to separate blood cells and tumor cells only by using differences in size and shape. In particular during the first experiments red blood cells and platelets are sorted from white blood cells; in the other experiments red blood cells and platelets are separated from white blood cells and tumor cells. The microdevice has proven to be very efficient, in fact a capture efficiency of 99% is achieved. For this reason it could be used in identification and isolation of circulating tumor cells, a very rare cancer cell type whose presence in the bloodstream could be symptom of future solid tumor formation. The various experiments have also demonstrated that tumor cells survive even after the separation treatment, and then the suffered stress during the sorting process does not harm the biological sample.