The main objective of this project is to create a hydrogel based material system to capture and release CCRF-CEM Leukemia cancer cells via chemo-mechanical modulation. This system is composed of an aptamer-functionalized hydrogel thin film at the bottom of a microfluidic channel, which changes its film thickness as the temperature of the fluid in the system changes. The functionalized hydrogel film has been created as the primary steps to creating the microfluidic device that could capture and release leukemia cells by turning the temperature of the fluid and length of exposure. Circulating tumor cells have recently become a highly studied area since they have become associated with the likelihood of patient survival. Further, circulating tumor cells can be used to determine changes in the genome of the cancer leading to targeted treatment. First, the aptamers were attached onto the hydrogel through an EDC/NHS reaction. The aptamers were verified to be attached onto the hydrogel through FTIR spectroscopy. The cell capture experiments were completed by exposing the hydrogel to a solution of leukemia cells for 10 minutes at room temperature. The cell release experiments were completed by exposing the hydrogel to a 40°C solution. Several capture and release experiments were completed to measure how many cells could be captured, how quickly, and how many cells captured were released. The aptamers were chemically attached to the hydrogel. 300 cells per square millimeter could be captured at a time in a 10 minute time period and released in a 5 minute period. Of the cells captured, 96% of them were alive once caught. 99% of cells caught were released once exposed to elevated temperature. The project opens the possibility to quickly and efficiently capture and release tumor cells using only changes in temperature. Further, most of the cells that were captured were alive and nearly all of those were released leading to high survival and capture efficiency.
- Aptamer-functionalized Hydrogel for the Capture and Release of CCRF-CEM Leukemia Cancer Cells