Low-Cost Microfluidic Device Could Help Diagnose Pancreatic Cancer Earlier & Faster

Pancreatic cancer is an especially devastating disease; at least 94 percent of patients will die within five years. Because little is known about how the cancer behaves, patients often receive a diagnosis when it's already too late. University of Washington scientists and engineers are developing a low-cost device that could help pathologists diagnose pancreatic cancer earlier and faster. The prototype microfluidic device can perform the basic steps for processing a biopsy, relying on fluid transport instead of human hands to process the tissue. The device has both curved and straight channels for transporting tissue biopsies, and its silicon material is lightweight, flexible, and transparent. In this video, tissue biopsies first are seen moving through the transparent channels of the device. In the second cut, an optical clearing fluid illuminates the original channels. The researchers say this is the first time material larger than a single-celled organism has successfully moved in a microfluidic device.