Medical Oncology

, 34:22 | Cite as

A surface tension magnetophoretic device for rare cell isolation and characterization

  • Emma E. van der Toom
  • James E. Verdone
  • Changhan Jun
  • Doru Petrisor
  • Sunghwan Lim
  • Jean J. M. C. H. de la Rosette
  • Theo M. de Reijke
  • Michael A. Gorin
  • Kenneth J. Pienta
  • Dan StoianoviciEmail author
Original Paper


The cancer community continues to search for an efficient and cost-effective technique to isolate and characterize circulating cells (CTCs) as a ‘real-time liquid biopsy’. Existing methods to isolate and analyze CTCs require various transfer, wash, and staining steps that can be time consuming, expensive, and led to the loss of rare cells. To overcome the limitations of existing CTC isolation strategies, we have developed an inexpensive ‘lab on a chip’ device for the enrichment, staining, and analysis of rare cell populations. This device utilizes immunomagnetic positive selection of antibody-bound cells, isolation of cells through an immiscible interface, and filtration. The isolated cells can then be stained utilizing immunofluorescence or used for other downstream detection methods. We describe the construction and initial preclinical testing of the device. Initial tests suggest that the device may be well suited for the isolation of CTCs and could allow the monitoring of cancer progression and the response to therapy over time.


Micro-fluidic device Magnetophoresis Rare cells Circulating tumor cells Prostate cancer 



This work is supported by NCI Grant Nos. U54CA143803, CA163124, CA093900, CA143055 to K.J.P. as well as the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Patrick C. Walsh Fund, and a gift from the Stutt family. E.E.vdT. is supported by the Cure for Cancer Foundation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Author E.E.vdT. declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author J.E.V. declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author C.J. declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author D.P. declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author S.L. declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author J.J.M.C.H.dlR. declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author T.M.dR. declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author M.A.G. declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author K.J.P. is a consultant for Celsee Diagnostics and is on the board of directors for Curis, Inc. Author D.S. declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

No humans were involved.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma E. van der Toom
    • 1
    • 2
  • James E. Verdone
    • 1
  • Changhan Jun
    • 1
  • Doru Petrisor
    • 1
  • Sunghwan Lim
    • 1
  • Jean J. M. C. H. de la Rosette
    • 2
  • Theo M. de Reijke
    • 2
  • Michael A. Gorin
    • 1
  • Kenneth J. Pienta
    • 1
  • Dan Stoianovici
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Urology, The James Buchanan Brady Urological InstituteSchool of Medicine, Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Urology, Academic Medical CenterUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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