EpCAM-conjugated magnetic beads for the selective separation of glioma cells from healthy brain cells using microfluidics

Project Title: EpCAM-conjugated magnetic beads for the selective separation of glioma cells from healthy brain cells using microfluidics

Project Duration: May 22 – July 28, 2017 (10 weeks), 40 hours per week.

Project Mentors  –

  •       Primary Faculty Mentor (Name, Affiliation, website and Email/Phone): Lohitash Karumbaiah, UGA, http://www.karumbaiahlab.org/, lohitash@uga.edu, 706-542-2017
  •       Secondary Faculty Mentor (Name, Affiliation, website and Email/Phone): Leidong Mao, UGA, http://magnet.engr.uga.edu, mao@uga.edu, 706-542-1871
  •       Graduate Student/PostDoc mentors (Name, Affiliation and Email/Phone): Meghan Logun, UGA (Karumbaiah Lab), meglog@uga.edu, 4044093691

Project Description: Grade IV astrocytomas known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) are the most aggressive primary brain tumors, with a median survival rate of 15 months after diagnosis. Current methodologies for diagnosis include time-consuming histopathological reviews of biopsied brain tumor tissue to determine malignancy, which can delay early diagnosis and treatment. We propose to use microfluidics in combination with labeled magnetic beads to separate invasive glioma cells from other healthy neural tissue within a few hours. A strategy that combines rapid cell sorting with subsequent cell culture of a pure population of the patient’s glioma cells could not only speed up time to diagnosis, but also enhance personalized treatment. We hypothesize that incubating magnetic beads labeled with anti-epithelial cell adhesion molecule (epCAM) antibody will allow for the selective separation of glioma cells from other neural tissue cell types from co-culture, as judged by recent evidence that glioma cells have significant upregulation of epCAM compared to healthy cell types. In order to test the hypothesis, we will evaluate the binding of anti-epCAM-labeled magnetic beads to F98 rat glioma cells compared to primary rat astrocytes, then attempt cell separation using a magnetic microfluidics device whereby the glioma cells containing anti-epCAM magnetic beads will be pulled out of the remaining cell suspension into outlets where they can be then put back into cell culture as a pure population. If successful, this platform could be used to increase the speed of screening and diagnosis of invasive GBM.

REU Student Role and Responsibility: The REU student will learn cell culture skills for multiple cell types, as well as the fabrication and application of microfluidics platforms to carry out experiments contributing to this project. The student will gain insight and experience in working with cancer, as well as participation with translational research.

Expected Outcome for REU student: We expect the student’s hard work to contribute to a journal publication and conference poster presentations for the lab group members involved in the project. The student will be given credit in the form of a co-authorship on any and all publications that reference the research done by the student on this project.