Sheathless high-throughput circulating tumor cell separation using viscoelastic non-Newtonian fluid

Hyunjung Lim, Seung Min Back, Min Ho Hwang, Dae Hee Lee, Hyuk Choi, Jeonghun Nam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have attracted increasing attention as important biomarkers for clinical and biological applications. Several microfluidic approaches have been demonstrated to separate CTCs using immunoaffinity or size difference from other blood cells. This study demonstrates a sheathless, high-throughput separation of CTCs from white blood cells (WBCs) using a viscoelastic fluid. To determine the fluid viscoelasticity and the flow rate for CTC separation, and to validate the device performance, flow characteristics of 6, 13, and 27 μm particles in viscoelastic fluids with various concentrations were estimated at different flow rates. Using 0.2% hyaluronic acid (HA) solution, MCF-7 (Michigan Cancer Foundation-7) cells mimicking CTCs in this study were successfully separated from WBCs at 500 μL/min with a separation efficiency of 94.8%. Small amounts of MCF-7 cells (~5.2%) were found at the center outlet due to the size overlap with WBCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number462
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul 1


  • Circulating tumor cell
  • High-throughput
  • Separation
  • Sheathless
  • Viscoelastic fluid
  • White blood cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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