(481c) Design and Simulation of An Automated Rare Blood Cell Detector

Qian, Z., Auburn University
Boland, E., Techshot, Inc.
Todd, P. W., Techshot, Inc.
Hanley, T. R., Auburn University

Design and Simulation of an Automated Rare Blood Cell Detector

Zhixi Qiana, Eugene D. Bolandb, Paul W. Toddb. Thomas R. Hanleya,

aDepartment of Chemical Engineering, Auburn University, AL 36849

bTechshot, Inc. 7200 Highway 150, Greenville, IN 47124

In recent years the use of circulating tumor cell (CTC) counts in cancer management has increased.  Detecting small numbers of rare cells in blood and non-invasively and monitoring the therapeutic progress, CTC detection technology currently plays an important role.  However, the detection can be performed only in specialized laboratories, and the analysis requires several skilled technicians, making use expensive.  Also, results require weeks (or even months), making it difficult to detect disease at an early stage.

The primary objective of this research is to design, simulate and test an accurate, cost-effective, user-friendly point-of-care CTC detection device.  The preliminary design includes three syringes for sample, buffer and reagents, a static mixer, a magnetic filter, a microfluidic “chip” and a waste receptor.  The device is smaller and cheaper than traditional detection devices.  Also, device operation is easier with only one operator required.  The device can be used in clinics, nursing homes or residences allowing earlier detection of most fatal cancers, including pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer and melanoma.

Our recent research focuses on the analysis and simulation of static mixer and the flow cytometer as well as further analysis of factors affects the fluid’s motion pattern.  The fluid dynamic analysis of the staged mixer was accomplished using the FLUENTTM analysis package, modeling of fluid flow and tracking particles’ movement in complex geometries.  The simulations include the effects of the magnetophoretic mobility and gravity as well as the effect of hinder flow.  Results from experimental separations of CTC’s from blood samples are compared to simulation results. 

Key words:  point-of-care, magnetic cell separation, computational fluid dynamics, melanoma


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