Canadian and European Lab on a Chip Systems for Breast Cancer Detection and 1024 Reactions at Once for a Lab on a Chip

1. IMEC, a leading European research center in nanotechnology, has achieved a major milestone in the development of a lab-on-chip for the detection and therapy evaluation of breast cancer. This is the first time that a lab-on-chip system including many complex sample preparation steps and multiplexed detection was conceived and is being implemented. All modules for sample preprocessing and detection are ready for further miniaturization and integration in a single lab-on-chip platform. The system will be clinically validated in a breast cancer therapy study in Oslo.

The project partners developed a modular platform where each module has its specific task and autonomy and as such can also be used for many different medical applications. The first module is the incubation module performing the mixing of the blood sample with functionalized magnetic beads which specifically bind the tumor cells. The second module is used for tumor cell isolation and counting using a combination of dielectrophoresis and magnetic sensing with single cell sensitivity. In the third module, the amplification module, the cell wall of the tumor cells is destroyed and the genetic material (i.e. the mRNA) is extracted and amplified based on multiplex ligation dependent probe amplification (MLPA).

Within this module, specific assays amplify about 20 markers that are expressed in breast carcinoma cells. In the final detection module, the amplified genetic material is detected using an array of electrochemical sensors. The different building blocks have been developed and validated on spiked blood samples

2. Lab-on-a-Chip Performs 1024 Chemical Reactions At Once

An integrated microfluidic device has been developed to perform 1024 in situ click chemistry reactions in parallel using the bovine carbonic anhydrous II (bCAII) click chemistry system as a proof-of-concept study and a rapid hit identification approach using SPE purification and electrospray-ionization mass spectrometry, multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) analysis, all of which improves the sensitivity and throughput of the downstream analysis.

3. In a move to quicken detection for women at risk of breast cancer, Canadian researchers said they had developed a hormone testing technique that could eventually be used in a handheld device.

While the results are several years away from usage, the new “lab-on-a-chip” technique developed at the University of Toronto can analyze “tiny samples of blood and breast tissue to identify women at risk of breast cancer much more quickly than ever before,” researchers said.