[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To improve cancer therapy, it is critical to target metastasizing cells. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are rare cells found in the blood of patients with solid tumors and may play a key role in cancer dissemination. Uncovering CTC phenotypes offers a potential avenue to inform treatment. However, CTC transcriptional profiling is limited by leukocyte contamination; an approach to surmount this problem is single cell analysis. Here we demonstrate feasibility of performing high dimensional single CTC profiling, providing early insight into CTC heterogeneity and allowing comparisons to breast cancer cell lines widely used for drug discovery.
We purified CTCs using the MagSweeper, an immunomagnetic enrichment device that isolates live tumor cells from unfractionated blood. CTCs that met stringent criteria for further analysis were obtained from 70% (14/20) of primary and 70% (21/30) of metastatic breast cancer patients; none were captured from patients with non-epithelial cancer (n = 20) or healthy subjects (n = 25). Microfluidic-based single cell transcriptional profiling of 87 cancer-associated and reference genes showed heterogeneity among individual CTCs, separating them into two major subgroups, based on 31 highly expressed genes. In contrast, single cells from seven breast cancer cell lines were tightly clustered together by sample ID and ER status. CTC profiles were distinct from those of cancer cell lines, questioning the suitability of such lines for drug discovery efforts for late stage cancer therapy.
For the first time, we directly measured high dimensional gene expression in individual CTCs without the common practice of pooling such cells. Elevated transcript levels of genes associated with metastasis NPTN, S100A4, S100A9, and with epithelial mesenchymal transition: VIM, TGFß1, ZEB2, FOXC1, CXCR4, were striking compared to cell lines. Our findings demonstrate that profiling CTCs on a cell-by-cell basis is possible and may facilitate the application of 'liquid biopsies' to better model drug discovery.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e33788. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Circulating tumor cells (CTC) mediate metastatic spread of many solid tumors and enumeration of CTCs is currently used as a prognostic indicator of survival in metastatic prostate cancer patients. Some evidence suggests that it is possible to derive additional information about tumors from expression analysis of CTCs, but the technical difficulty of isolating and analyzing individual CTCs has limited progress in this area. To assess the ability of a new generation of MagSweeper to isolate intact CTCs for downstream analysis, we performed mRNA-Seq on single CTCs isolated from the blood of patients with metastatic prostate cancer and on single prostate cancer cell line LNCaP cells spiked into the blood of healthy donors. We found that the MagSweeper effectively isolated CTCs with a capture efficiency that matched the CellSearch platform. However, unlike CellSearch, the MagSweeper facilitates isolation of individual live CTCs without contaminating leukocytes. Importantly, mRNA-Seq analysis showed that the MagSweeper isolation process did not have a discernible impact on the transcriptional profile of single LNCaPs isolated from spiked human blood, suggesting that any perturbations caused by the MagSweeper process on the transcriptional signature of isolated cells are modest. Although the RNA from patient CTCs showed signs of significant degradation, consistent with reports of short half-lives and apoptosis amongst CTCs, transcriptional signatures of prostate tissue and of cancer were readily detectable with single CTC mRNA-Seq. These results demonstrate that the MagSweeper provides access to intact CTCs and that these CTCs can potentially supply clinically relevant information.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e49144. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Traditionally, expensive and time consuming techniques such as mass spectrometry and Western Blotting have been used for characterization of protein-protein interactions. In this paper, we describe the design, fabrication, and testing of a rapid and inexpensive sensor, involving the use of microelectrodes in a microchannel, which can be used for real-time electrical detection of specific interactions between proteins. We have successfully demonstrated detection of target glycoprotein-glycoprotein interactions, antigen-antibody interactions, and glycoprotein-antigen interactions. We have also demonstrated the ability of this technique to distinguish between strong and weak interactions. Using this approach, it may be possible to multiplex an array of these sensors onto a chip and probe a complex mixture for various types of interactions involving protein molecules.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current methods used for analyzing biomarkers involve expensive and time consuming techniques like the Sandwich ELISA which require lengthy incubation times, high reagent costs, and bulky optical equipment. We have developed a technique involving the use of a micro-channel with integrated electrodes, functionalized with receptors specific to target biomarkers. We have applied our biochip to the rapid electrical detection and quantification of target protein biomarkers using protein functionalized micro-channels. We successfully demonstrate detection of anti-hCG antibody, at a concentration of 1 ng ml(-1) and a dynamic range of three orders of magnitude, in less than one hour. We envision the use of this technique in a handheld device for multiplex high throughput analysis using an array of micro-channels for probing various protein biomarkers in clinically relevant samples such as human serum for cancer detection.
Lab on a Chip 06/2009; 9(10):1429-34. · 5.70 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The enumeration of rare circulating epithelial cells (CEpCs) in the peripheral blood of metastatic cancer patients has shown promise for improved cancer prognosis. Moving beyond enumeration, molecular analysis of CEpCs may provide candidate surrogate endpoints to diagnose, treat, and monitor malignancy directly from the blood samples. Thorough molecular analysis of CEpCs requires the development of new sample preparation methods that yield easily accessible and purified CEpCs for downstream biochemical assays. Here, we describe a new immunomagnetic cell separator, the MagSweeper, which gently enriches target cells and eliminates cells that are not bound to magnetic particles. The isolated cells are easily accessible and can be extracted individually based on their physical characteristics to deplete any cells nonspecifically bound to beads. We have shown that our device can process 9 mL of blood per hour and captures >50% of CEpCs as measured in spiking experiments. We have shown that the separation process does not perturb the gene expression of rare cells. To determine the efficiency of our platform in isolating CEpCs from patients, we have isolated CEpCs from all 47 tubes of 9-mL blood samples collected from 17 women with metastatic breast cancer. In contrast, we could not find any circulating epithelial cells in samples from 5 healthy donors. The isolated CEpCs are all stored individually for further molecular analysis.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2009; 106(10):3970-5. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disease diagnosis at an early stage requires the availability of inexpensive platforms which can accurately and rapidly analyze a wide panel of biomarkers, genomic biomarkers in particular. Genetic biomarkers are typically detected through recognition of DNA hybridization events, which is typically performed using DNA microarrays, requiring overnight incubation times, and bulky and costly optical equipment. Here, we present the use of bioactivated microfluidic channels for the real time detection of DNA hybridization electrically. Our technique is several orders of magnitude faster in time compared to the use of microarrays, and two orders of magnitude lower in cost.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present study reports on the retention of conformational flexibility of a model allosteric protein upon immobilization on self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on gold. Organothiolated SAMs of different compositions were utilized for adsorptive and covalent attachment of bovine liver glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH), a well-characterized allosteric enzyme. Sensitive fluorimetric assays were developed to determine immobilization capacity, specific activity, and allosteric properties of the immobilized preparations as well as the potential for repeated use and continuous catalytic transformations. The allosteric response of the free and immobilized forms towards ADP, L-leucine and high concentrations of NAD(+), some of the well-known activators for this enzyme, were determined and compared. The enzyme immobilized by adsorption or chemical binding responded similarly to the activators with a greater degree of activation, as compared to the free form. Also loss of activity involving the two immobilization procedures were similar, suggesting that residues essential for catalytic activity or allosteric properties of GDH remained unchanged in the course of chemical modification. A recently established method was used to predict GDH orientation upon immobilization, which was found to explain some of the experimental results presented. The general significance of these observations in connection with retention of native properties of protein structures upon immobilization on SAMs is discussed.
Biotechnology and Bioengineering 06/2008; 100(1):19-27. · 3.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Currently, microbiological techniques such as culture enrichment and various plating techniques are used for detection of pathogens. These expensive and time consuming methods can take several days. Described below is the design, fabrication, and testing of a rapid and inexpensive sensor, involving the use of microelectrodes in a microchannel, which can be used to detect single bacterial cells electrically (label-free format) in real time. As a proof of principle, we have successfully demonstrated real-time detection of target yeast cells by measuring instantaneous changes in ionic impedance. We have also demonstrated the selectivity of our sensors in responding to target cells while remaining irresponsive to nontarget cells. Using this technique, it can be possible to multiplex an array of these sensors onto a chip and probe a complex mixture for various types of bacterial cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report on a rapid simulation method for predicting protein orientation on a surface based on electrostatic interactions. New methods for predicting protein immobilization are needed because of the increasing use of biosensors and protein microarrays, two technologies that use protein immobilization onto a solid support, and because the orientation of an immobilized protein is important for its function. The proposed simulation model is based on the premise that the protein interacts with the electric field generated by the surface, and this interaction defines the orientation of attachment. Results of this model are in agreement with experimental observations of immobilization of mitochondrial creatine kinase and type I hexokinase on biological membranes. The advantages of our method are that it can be applied to any protein with a known structure; it does not require modeling of the surface at atomic resolution and can be run relatively quickly on readily available computing resources. Finally, we also propose an orientation of membrane-bound cytochrome c, a protein for which the membrane orientation has not been unequivocally determined.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2006; 103(40):14773-8. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper presents the modeling of the electrical properties of bioactivated nanopores, customized nanopore devices with a biological macromolecule attached in the pore as the probe. These devices are capable of detecting and analyzing interactions between the attached biomolecule and the molecules in the analyte at a single molecule level
Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2006. EMBS '06. 28th Annual International Conference of the IEEE; 10/2006
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper presents the modeling of the electrical properties of bioactivated nanopores, customized nanopore devices with a biological macromolecule attached in the pore as the probe. These devices are capable of detecting and analyzing interactions between the attached biomolecule and the molecules in the analyte at a single molecule level.
Conference proceedings: ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 02/2006; 1:1830-3.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper presents a novel device which provides the opportunity to perform high-throughput biochemical assays on different individual cells. In particular, the proposed device is suited to screen the rare cells in biological samples for early stage cancer diagnosis and explore their biochemical functionality. In the process, single cells are precisely positioned and captured in activated micropores. To show the performance of the proposed device, cultured yeast cells and human epithelial circulating tumor cells are successfully captured.
Conference proceedings: ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 02/2006; 1:1838-41.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pathogenic bacterial cell detection is currently performed using techniques such as culture enrichment and various plating methods, which are expensive and can take up to several days. In this study, we describe the design, fabrication, and testing of a rapid and inexpensive sensor for detection of target cells electrically in real-time. The sensor operates with the use of microelectrodes integrated in a micro-channel. As a proof of principle, we have successfully demonstrated real-time detection of target yeast cells with a concentration of 107 cells/ml. We have also demonstrated the selectivity of our sensors in responding to target cells while remaining irresponsive to non-target cells. We also perform theoretical modeling in order to determine the ultimate detection limit of the sensor. Based on our modeling results, proper optimization of the sensor can yield detection limits approaching the single cell level.