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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Southampton researcher’s work on tumour cells is recognised

Published: 15 February 2013

Hybrid Biodevices research student Daniel Spencer, who is working on a multidisciplinary PhD thesis with Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton has been awarded a prize for his poster: ‘Identification of tumour cells using microfluidic impedance cytometry’.

The poster was judged the best at NanoBioTech Montreux 2012: he received a certificate from Philippe Renaud, President of NanoBioTech Association.

The work is a step towards identifying circulating tumour cells (CTCs) from whole blood. These single cells are shed from a primary tumour into the blood stream where they circular around the body and cause the spread of the cancer to other organs, called metastasis.

Normally, these rare cells are identified based on their surface markers, however this requires extensive sample processing and is time consuming and expensive. In this work, Daniel and colleagues Veronica Hollis and Hywel Morgan demonstrated the detection of MCF7 cells (a breast cancer cell line model for CTCs) spiked into whole blood. They identified differences between the tumour and blood cells using a microfluidic impedance cytometer, which measures cell size and membrane capacitance, in a miniature system which requires minimal sample preparation.

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