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Microchip Device Detects Small Populations of Cancerous Cells, Brigham and Women's Hospital Study  
11/19/2012 9:04:17 AM

A microchip device that can detect and capture small populations of cancer cells has been developed in the US. The device, developed by a research team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, could find broad therapeutic and diagnostic uses in the detection and capture of rare cell types, such as foetal and cancer cells, plus viruses and bacteria. A study describing the work has been published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. According to a statement, the microchip device uses a three-dimensional DNA network made up of long DNA strands with repetitive sequences that can detect, bind and capture certain molecules. The researchers, led by Dr Jeffrey Karp of the BWH Division of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Medicine, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, senior study author, and Prof Rohit Karnik of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, co-author, created the chip using a microfluidic surface and methods that allowed them to rapidly replicate long DNA strands with multiple targeting sites that can bind to cancer cells, but also custom tailor critical characteristics such as DNA length and sequence, which would allow them to target various cell types.