To isolate cancer undifferentiated cells it takes currently months. Scientists at IHP – Innovations for High Perfomance Microelectronics in Frankfurt (Oder) are working on a technique to isolate and neutralise cancer stem cells (CSCs) within a few minutes. Together with a team of six partners, who are mainly biologists, they are aiming for a Semiconductor-based Ultrawideband Micromanipulation of Cancer Stem Cells in the European Union Horizon 2020 project called “Sumcastec”. “The targeted scientific breakthrough in Sumcastec is the world`s first micro-optofluidic lab-on-chip platform enabling successively cancer stem cells isolation via electromagnetic sensing and cell spectral signature identification, nanoscale imaging of targeted cells and their selective neutralization via electromagnetic radiations”, explains Dr. Canan Baristiran Kaynak from IHP. With this new technique it might be possible to separate CSCs quicker than ever before. A new BiCMOS chip made by IHP shall help to detect and sort the cells. Thereby a novel micro-optofluidic lab-on-chip platform with full integration of microfluidic channels and reservoirs, broadband high frequency sources and detectors into a Silicon Germanium (SiGe) BiCMOS environment will be built up. This chip, which can be compared with a mini computer, should be able through high frequent electromagnetic waves to get inside of a cell without any damage. “Thus, it would be possible to get a more comprehensive view of the cell”, says the IHP scientist. If it is possible to get in the inside, then the cell might be understood better and treatment can be sytonised. “With our technologies and systems used in medical engineering, we can contribute to new methods and practices, which help to treat illnesses better in the future”, adds Prof. Bernd Tillack, Scientific Director of IHP.
The Sumcastec project, which has been started beginning this year and runs until mid 2020, would be the first crucial step in a long term vision focusing on the development of new electrosurgical tools for in vivo therapeutic targeting of CSCs, thus preventing recurrence and ultimately treating cancers such as Glioblastoma Multiforme and Medulloblastoma. It is also considered to be a very valuable project in terms of fundamental research: “We are proud that IHP takes part in a FET* project, since these calls fund only 2% of the submitted projects”, explains Dr. Canan Baristiran Kaynak.