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Early Cancer Diagnosis by the Detection of Circulating Tumor Cells using Drop-based Microfluidics @Harvard

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Davey received a silver medal at the Collegiate Inventors Competition for the microfluidic technique he developed. (Photo courtesy of the Collegiate Inventors Convention.)

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Davey, who developed an interest in biology while working as a high school intern at the Food and Drug Administration, is looking forward to studying additional applications of microfluidics. The technology can be used to isolate specific cancer genomes by sorting bright drops out of the mix, enabling scientists to learn more about the nature of the disease. It can also be used to identify specific mutations of the cancer genome, which could help doctors determine which medications would be most effective for a patient.

 

Davey worked in the lab of mentor of David Weitz, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, to develop the technique.

His technique involves injecting a tiny amount of blood into a microfluidic device to encapsulate single cells from the blood stream in individual microfluidic drops. Once the cells have been encapsulated, Davey uses a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a common technique in molecular biology, to target and amplify fragments of cancer DNA within the drops.

 

SOURCE

http://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2016/01/harvard-student-develops-technique-to-diagnose-cancer-from-single-drop-of-blood?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=01.08.2016%20(1)

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