Capture and Genetic Analysis of Circulating Tumor Cells Using a Magnetic Separation Device (Magnetic Sifter)

  • Chin Chun Ooi
  • Seung-min Park
  • Dawson J. Wong
  • Sanjiv S. Gambhir
  • Shan X. WangEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1634)


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are currently widely studied for their potential application as part of a liquid biopsy. These cells are shed from the primary tumor into the circulation, and are postulated to provide insight into the molecular makeup of the actual tumor in a minimally invasive manner. However, they are extremely rare in blood, with typical concentrations of 1–100 in a milliliter of blood; hence, a need exists for a rapid and high-purity method for isolating CTCs from whole blood. Here, we describe the application of a microfabricated magnetic sifter toward isolation of CTCs from whole blood at volumetric flow rates of 10 mL/h, along with the use of a PDMS-based nanowell system for single-cell gene expression profiling. This method allows rapid isolation of CTCs and subsequent integration with downstream genetic profiling methods for clinical applications such as targeted therapy, therapy monitoring, or further biological studies.

Key words

Magnetic cell separation Circulating tumor cell Liquid biopsy Genetic analysis Magnetic sifter Nanowell array 



This work was supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Awards U54CA151459 (Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence and Translation) and R21CA185804.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chin Chun Ooi
    • 1
  • Seung-min Park
    • 2
    • 3
  • Dawson J. Wong
    • 4
  • Sanjiv S. Gambhir
    • 2
    • 3
  • Shan X. Wang
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  3. 3.Molecular Imaging Program at StanfordStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  4. 4.Department of Electrical EngineeringStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  5. 5.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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