Microbubble Arrays for Sorting Cancer Stem Cells
Microbubble (MB) arrays - fabricated in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) using our the patented gas expansion molding (GEM) process – are being developed as a novel screening tool to identify and characterize tumor initiating cells. Morphologically distinct clones are cultured from single cells, they are recovered and functionally characterized. Single cell survival and proliferation is enabled by the unique architecture of the MB well and its physiochemical properties. Low surface energy and compliant substrate favor nonadherent cell proliferation and sphere formation which are hall marks of tumorigenic cells. Cell that are resistance to chemotherapeutics is one approach taken to enrich for aggressive tumor cells. Studies find that cancer cells cultured as nonadherent spheres on PDMS are enriched in stem cell markers and they exhibit higher single cell clonogenic potential. We have also shown that the MB compartment can be used to study the epidermal-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) which is process that metastatic cells undergo .
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