Microfluidic probe for personalized medicine
Microfluidics are generally “closed” systems inside which samples pass and to which user-to-chip interfaces are established. We have developed a scanning, non-contact technology — the microfluidic probe (MFP) — that overcomes key limitations of microfluidics by combining the concepts of microfluidics and of scanning probes.
Beneath the MFP head, liquid boundaries are formed by hydrodynamically confining a flow of processing solution by replacing the solid walls of closed microchannels that represent a transition from closed to “open” microfluidics.
Our MFP provides new opportunities for handling, analyzing, and interacting with biological samples for surface and biological interface processing.
We recently proposed the concept of “tissue microprocessing” to conserve precious tissue samples and to extract more information of better quality. We showed that tumor markers can be detected with a technique called micro-immunohistochemistry (IHC). The microfluidic probe can identify protein and genetic markers on the microscale and thus provides "multidimensional" information on critical samples useful for personalized medicine. In parallel, we started exploring sampling strategies and how to exploit the vast amount of data potentially generated by the microfluidic probe.
We are now extending several concepts related to the MFP and tissue microprocessing with partners, including the Institute of Clinical Pathology of the University Hospital of Zurich and the Technion Institute of Technology.