Korea-Australia Rheology Journal, Vol.34, No.4, 335-347, November, 2022
Numerical simulation-based performance improvement of the separation of circulating tumor cells from bloodstream in a microfluidic platform by dielectrophoresis
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) detection has become one of the promising solutions for the early diagnosis of cancers. Thus, the separation of CTCs is of great importance in biomedical applications. In addition, microfluidic technology has been an attractive approach to the manipulation of biological cells. This study presents the parametric investigations relevant to the volumetric throughput of a microfluidic platform with the dielectrophoresis (DEP)-based cell manipulation technique for the continuous CTCs separation. A low potential voltage at an appropriate frequency was applied to slanted planar electrodes to separate CTCs from normal cells in blood samples due to mainly the cell size difference. The performance of the separation process was analyzed by evaluating the cell trajectories, purity, and recovery rates. Several inlet flow rates of buffer and cell sample fluid streams were examined. Various channel configurations with different outlet and height dimensions were also investigated to enhance the isolation of CTCs. During the simulation, the size and shape of cells were assumed as fixed-sized, solid spheres. The results showed that CTCs could be separated from blood cells, including white blood cells (WBCs), red blood cells (RBCs), and platelets (PLTs) with recovery and purity factors up to 100% at the cell sample throughput of 10 µL/min by utilizing a suitable microchannel design. The current study significantly contributes valuable insights into the design of the microchip devices to effectively and selectively isolate different cancerous cells in biofluids.