Development of clinical microfluidics towards commercialization: From proof-of-principle to high-volume utilization in oncology and other applications
Microfluidics are attractive tools for manipulation and separation of micro-particles, since they tend to have higher sensitivity and specificity than the bulk separation methods. Biomedical applications target cell separation from bodily fluids, often from the blood, but fail to translate into clinic either because of reliability and repeatability, or simply because of limited blood processing capacity. Specifically in the case of isolating circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients’ peripheral blood stream, the challenge is immense: 1 to 100 cells in a tube of blood with 50 billion other cells. We have initially developed an integrated microfluidic system and demonstrated the proof-of-concept utilization for CTC isolation, and followed by developing the technology for further dissemination and productization. For broad dissemination and clinical adoption, the technologies need to be scalable in volume and cost and have robustness. Maturing microfluidic devices from silicon and silicone to large volume low cost manufacturing in plastic is key to clinical and commercial realization.
The mature technologies developed at MGH find various application areas in medicine and biomedical research. The Turkish start-up company, MicroMedicine, was formed to pursue the commercialization potential of these technologies. Microfluidic methods are in development for diagnostics (of infections), for therapy (Bone Marrow & Hematopoetic Progenitor Cells for grafting and transplant), and for clinical research (Stem Cell isolation and Leukocyte preparation). The talk will encompass the description of basic tools and methods to transform test-bench ideas to prototypes, focusing on the CTC sorting application, followed by short description of other application areas and of the microfluidic technologies in MicroMedicine’s inventory.
Point of Contact
Emre Ozkumur, Ph.D.