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Team Led by Professor Sang-Kwon Lee Develops a Cell Separation Chip to Diagnose the Spread of Cancer 

국제교류부 (hqiof) 2012/05/18 15:33:58
Team Led by Professor Sang-Kwon Lee Develops a Cell Separation Chip to Diagnose the Spread of Cancer


The day that we will be able to drop a few drops of blood on a kit to quickly and easily diagnose the spread of cancer is not far away.


This is thanks to the research team led by Professor Sang-Kwon Lee (Semiconductor Technology), consisting of graduate students (Dong Joo Kim (doctor's course), Jin Kyeong Seol (master's course), Dr. Gil Sung Kim, Hwan Hyung Jeong (doctor's course), and Dr. Seung Yong Lee achieving a key research milestone in the development of a diagnosis chip that can diagnose the spread of cancer with a very small amount of blood.


The team announced that it developed a cell separation chip that can separate highly efficient immunocytes by using the transparent quartz nanopillar structure.


The research on the technology to develop a diagnosis chip that is inexpensive and can diagnose the spread of cancer with a very small amount of blood has been published on the online April edition of Nanoscale (impact factor 4.1), the world renown nano journal. And when the brilliance of the research was recognized, it even appeared on the front cover of the offline edition of the journal.


This research result is follow up research aimed to improve the results of the development of the world's first immunocyte separation chip using inexpensive silicon nano-wires by Professor Lee in 2010.


The quartz nanopillar cell separation chip that has been developed is a technology to selectively separate only the specific 'CD4 T cells', that are important to disease and immunology, from the immunocytes that have been extracted from the spleen of mice. It was a major improvement, compared to the 2010 research results announced by Professor Lee's team, showing a 95% higher cell separation rate. The result is 4 times better than when using glass disks.


The research used the quartz nanopillar structure, that can contribute to producing a more transparent and delicate chip than the previously used silicon nano-wire. In particular, it is very meaningful in that the hemocytometer function has been added to the development of the separation chip, which can check the number of immunocytes simultaneously by producing sophisticated micro patterns on the immunocyte separation chip through a semi-conductor process.


Another outstanding feature that is recognized about this separation chip is that it is over 3 times larger in size than the cell separation chip developed in 2010 using nano-wire (2.5x2.5cm2 to 0.7x0.7cm2). This makes it possible to conduct various research on the cells, such as its size and division, spread, cultivation, etc.


Another thing to notice is that by utilizing, and in parallel to, the results of this research, Professor Lee's team is conducting research to develop the 'metastatic cancer diagnosis chip' that will be able to diagnose the spread of metastatic cancer with a small amount of blood within one hour, by the early separation of circulating tumor cells and circulating stem cells that exist in very small quantities (1-10cells/mL) in patients' blood. With such developments, expectations are high that it will be a big breakthrough in the research for an easy and inexpensive way to diagnose the spread of cancer with a small amount of blood.


This research has been jointly conducted together with the Biomimetics Research Team of KIMM, and Professor Rong Fan of the Department of Biotechnology at Yale, where Professor Lee stays as a researcher every year.



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