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Applications of Microfluidics for Studying Circulating Biomarkers and Developing Liquid Biopsies

Held in conjunction with Circulating Biomarkers, Exosomes & Liquid Biopsy Asia 2019

09 Sep 2019, at 19:30-22:00 in Seoul, Korea


Microfluidics is becoming an integral part of medicine and has already generated some commercial applications in the biomedical research domains. For example, the Illumina next generation sequencing (NGS) platform uses a microfluidic flow cell for cluster generation followed by sequencing-by-synthesis with fluorescence readout. Even the sample preparation phases of NGS uses microfluidics; the integrity of library preparation is evaluated using the Agilent TapeStation. Many commercial microfluidic platforms are now starting to transition into the clinical domain, where specific clinical decisions are made based on biomarkers, assays and the appropriate hardware (microfluidic hardware) to provide information to the clinician on how to effectively manage a patient’s disease based on the molecular composition of their disease (i.e., precision medicine). In this workshop, participants will become familiar with some basic considerations on how to transition a new technology into the clinic (from conception to clinical implementation); we will particularly discuss microfluidic technologies and how to move them into the clinic.

Topic areas that will be addressed upon in this training course include:

  • Selecting a specific clinical indication – how is the technology going to be used in the clinic (does it provide a clinical need)
  • Manufacturing and production of the technology for clinical implementation – this includes brief comments on commercialization of the microfluidic specifically for clinical applications
  • Evaluating the analytical figures-of-merit of the technology
  • Determining the clinical figures-of-merit of the technology
  • Generating clinical validation
  • Brief introduction to FDA clearance – what is demanded and how long does this take

We will use as our case examples, microfluidic technologies for the analysis of liquid biopsy markers including circulating tumor cells, cell free DNA, and extracellular vesicles.

This Short Course will be Broken Down into Two General Areas:

  • Operational characteristics of LOAC platforms and their appropriateness for selecting rare markers from whole blood
  • Application of LOAC technologies for the selection of rare circulating biomarkers from whole blood

The Topic Areas Addressed in this Short Course are Outlined Below:

Basic Fundamentals of LOAC Platforms

Brief introduction to the analytical challenges with the isolation of circulating markers from whole blood: CTCs, cfDNA and exosomes
Introduction to LOAC technologies; what can they provide with respect to the analysis of rare circulating markers and comparison to benchtop procedures
Materials for LOAC
Fabrication technologies
Dry/wet etching
Metrology and fluid characteristics in microfluidics
Electrokinetic versus hydrodynamic flow
Basic fluid and particle (cell) transport

Application of LOC Technologies for the Isolation of Circulating Biomarkers from Whole Blood

Basic components of the liquid biopsy
What is a CTC including different types?
Clinical information from CTCs
Benchtop techniques for the isolation of CTCs
Characteristics of cfDNA
How much circulating tumor DNA is found in whole blood?
What clinical information can be garnered from cfDNA?
QIAGEN-based techniques for isolating cfDNA
Isolation from plasma is required
What is an exosome and how is it generated?
Physical characteristics of exosomes
Ultra-centrifugation methods for isolating exosomes
Why is it necessary to isolate exosomes from plasma?
LOAC platforms for isolating plasma from whole blood
Skimming technologies
Filtering-based approaches
Throughput – how much blood is necessary to search for rare markers?
LOAC platforms for the analysis of CTCs
Biological-based techniques
Sinusoidal chip
Micro-pillar based chip with herringbone mixer
Nano-pillar chips for isolating CTCs
Physical-based techniques
Microfluidics using dielectrophoresis
Size-based separation using inertial lift forces or micro-pores
LOAC platforms for the analysis of cfDNA
Techniques that use magnetic beads
Solid-phase extraction of cfDNA
LOAC platforms for the analysis of exosomes
Centrifugation-based techniques
Affinity selection of disease-specific exosomes
Micro-pillar technologies
Solid-phase affinity selection

All course delegates receive the presentations from this course as well as reviews, publications and background material which are excellent resources for business plans, R&D and investor presentations.

Steve Soper

Steve Soper, Foundation Distinguished Professor; Director, Center of BioModular Multi-scale System for Precision Medicine, Adjunct Professor, Ulsan National Institute of Science & Technology, The University of Kansas