Project TitleCell Separation Device for Multiple Applications
Track Code2017-187
Short Description


Due to the high incidence rates of cancer in the past decades, there is currently a high demand for new and effective diagnostics for this deadly disease. Unfortunately, the tests that are now available lack reliability, require multiple expensive tests in order to produce a diagnosis, and do not distinguish between slow or fast growing cancers.

Tissue engineering is an area within regenerative medicine that involves the combining of cells, scaffolds, and bioactive molecules in order to restore, maintain or improve biological tissues. Part of this process involves the evaluation of cells before they can actually be used in the tissue, in order to determine their functional properties. Current tests are limited, however, as many cells lack common surface markers and universal morphological traits. Therefore, it is difficult to evaluate cell function directly and tests are very costly.



The researchers have created a device that can transport biological material such as living cells, nutrients, growth factors, and waste materials, among others. Due to the unique design of the invention and its ability to differentially transport various cell types, it can be used in a wide variety of applications, such as cellular diagnostic testing. This includes a method for identifying and separating cancer cells from healthy cells in a cellular solution, as well as identifying the type of cancer cell that is present. The information regarding cell type is obtained by evaluating vertical motility and displacement – features that are typically exhibited by cancer cells and are related to the cell’s ability to metastasize. Some of the advantages of this device for use in cancer applications include its simplicity, its capability to using any cellular solution (urine, blood, biopsy) to evaluate cancer cells, and its use for a variety of cancer types. It also produces rapid and accurate results and is inexpensive to use, as compared to other methods.

The invention can also be used in the formation of tissue engineering scaffolds by recruiting and organizing cellular movement, more effectively transporting biological materials. It can serve to evaluate cells pre-operation as well. The design of the device allows for directly determining functional properties of cells and is able to apply cells with homing and motile abilities. It also provides a method to characterize the functionality of the cells and is inexpensive, as compared to other techniques.


Dr. Leidong Mao, Associate Professor, UGA College of Engineering

Wujun Zhao, UGA College of Engineering

TagsSeparation techniques
Posted DateJul 21, 2017 10:36 AM