A Melt-electrowritten Filter for Capture and Culture of Circulating Colon Cancer Cells

Mathias Lindh Jørgensen, Christoph Alexander Müller, Mille Sikkersoq Kimer Nøddesbo, Marcin Nadzieja, Zhongyang Zhang, Yingchun Su, Jesper Just, Karen-Lise Garm Spindler, Menglin Chen

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Metastasis is the major cause of death in cancer patients accounting for about 90% of the mortality. The detection and analysis of the hallmark of metastasis, circulating tumor cells (CTCs), have significant impact in cancer biology and clinical practice. However, the scarcity of CTCs in blood, particularly in that of colorectal cancer patients, is a serious bottleneck in the development of CTC-based precision medicine. Herein, the melt electrowriting (MEW) technology was used for reproductive fabrication of a biocompatible antibody-presenting polycaprolactone filter with tailored porous structure. It is demonstrated, for the first time, that such filter can be used not only to catch cancer cells spiked in whole blood but also to culture the cancer cells directly on site. Specifically, HT29 colon cancer cells can be captured with an efficiency of 85%, and when spiked into 4 mL of whole blood, 47% were captured on one Ø12mm filter. Furthermore, repeated capture and culture experiments have shown that as few as 20 HT29 colon cancer cells spiked into 4 mL of whole blood can be captured on the filter and within 2 weeks be expanded on site to become tumor bodies that are visible to the untrained eye. This filter allows for downstream analysis, such as flow cytometry, immunocytochemistry, Western blotting, and rt-qPCR. This technology represents a simple and cost-effective platform that potentially enables fast and efficient culture of rare CTCs from patients’ blood. This provides non-invasive alternatives for solid biopsy tumor materials for treatment screening, with great potential to realize precision medicine for cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100052
JournalMaterials Today Bio
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Bioconjugation
  • Circulating tumor cells
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Melt electrospinning writing
  • On-site culture
  • Polycaprolactone
  • CTCS


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