Isolation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from blood provides a minimally-invasive alternative for basic understanding, diagnosis, and prognosis of metastatic cancer. The roles and clinical values of CTCs are under intensive investigation, yet most studies are limited by technical challenges in the comprehensive enrichment of intact and viable CTCs with minimal white blood cell (WBC) contamination. Here, we report a novel method based on contrast of cell magnetization in biocompatible ferrofluids (a colloidal magnetic nanoparticle suspension), termed as integrated ferrohydrodynamic cell separation (iFCS), that enriches CTCs in a tumor antigen-independent and cell size variation-inclusive manner, achieves a high throughput (12 mL h-1), high recovery rate (99.08% at down to ∼10 cells per mL spike ratio), and low WBC contamination (533 cells for every one milliliter blood processed) and is biocompatible. This method will enable large cohort research to define the clinical and diagnostic value of CTC subtypes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering