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Microfluidic Platform for the Isolation of Cancer-Cell Subpopulations Based on Single-Cell Glycolysis

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posted on 30.04.2020, 19:13 by Claudia Zielke, Ching W. Pan, Adriana J. Gutierrez Ramirez, Cameron Feit, Chandler Dobson, Catherine Davidson, Brody Sandel, Paul Abbyad
High rates of glycolysis in tumors have been associated with cancer metastasis, tumor recurrence, and poor outcomes. In this light, single cells that exhibit high glycolysis are specific targets for therapy. However, the study of these cells requires efficient tools for their isolation. We use a droplet microfluidic technique developed in our lab, Sorting by Interfacial Tension (SIFT), to isolate cancer cell subpopulations based on glycolysis without the use of labels or active sorting components. By controlling the flow conditions on chip, the threshold of selection can be modified, enabling the isolation of cells with different levels of glycolysis. Hypoxia in tumors, that can be simulated with treatment with CoCl2, leads to an increase in glycolysis, and more dangerous tumors. The device was used to enrich CoCl2 treated MDA-MB 231 breast cancer cells from an untreated population. It is also used to sort K562 human chronic myelogenous leukemia cells that have either been treated or untreated with 2-deoxy-d-glucose (2DG), a pharmaceutical that targets cell metabolism. The technique provides a facile and robust way of separating cells based on elevated glycolytic activity; a biomarker associated with cancer cell malignancy.