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14 February 2012 Mammosphere culture of cancer stem cells in a microfluidic device
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It is known that tumor-initiating cells with stem-like properties will form spherical colonies - termed mammospheres - when cultured in serum-free media on low-attachment substrates. Currently this assay is performed in commercially available 96-well trays with low-attachment surfaces. Here we report a novel microsystem that features on-chip mammosphere culture on low attachment surfaces. We have cultured mammospheres in this microsystem from well-studied human breast cancer cell lines. To enable the long-term culture of these unattached cells, we have integrated diffusion-based delivery columns that provide zero-convection delivery of reagents, such as fresh media, staining agents, or drugs. The multi-layer system consists of parallel cell-culture chambers on top of a low-attachment surface, connected vertically with a microfluidic reagent delivery layer. This design incorporates a reagent reservoir, which is necessary to reduce evaporation from the cell culture micro-chambers. The development of this microsystem will lead to the integration of mammosphere culture with other microfluidic functions, including circulating tumor cell recovery and high throughput drug screening. This will enable the cancer research community to achieve a much greater understanding of these tumor initiating cancer stem cells.
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Katayoon Saadin and Ian M. White "Mammosphere culture of cancer stem cells in a microfluidic device", Proc. SPIE 8251, Microfluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems X, 825106 (14 February 2012);

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