University of Montréal
Microfluidic detection of leukemia cells by electronic biomolecular sensors
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a disease caused by the uncontrolled growth of primitive myeloid progenitor cells. Patients with AML are usually treated with chemotherapy that will destroy the bulk of the tumour cells. Some cells can acquire resistance to this treatment however, leading to a “minimal residual disease” (MRD) and eventually, relapse. The ability to track MRD levels in the clinic is valuable, allowing doctors to intervene earlier, however this typically requires painful and invasive bone marrow sampling. This project, performed in collaboration with the Bouilly lab, will test an entirely new way of detecting AML cells, using a microfluidic electronic sensor that is triggered by the presence of proteins or DNA that are specific to the tumour cells. The work supported by this grant will allow prototype devices to be built and tested, in order to optimize their design and function. Because these sensors are extremely small, they have the potential to eventually provide a much faster, cheaper, and less invasive technique for monitoring MRD and improving patient treatment.