Lab on a fabric: Mass producible and low-cost fabric filters for the high-throughput viable isolation of circulating tumor cells

Jiyoon Bu, Yoon Tae Kang, Yong Seok Lee, Jeongsuk Kim, Young Ho Cho, Byung In Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) play an important role in estimating the presence and the metastatic relapse of tumor. Despite of their importance, isolation of viable CTCs is still struggling, since chemical or mechanical damages are unavoidable when separating less than 1000 of CTCs out of billions of other blood components. Furthermore, the current CTC isolation devices show low productivity, since they are produced after a series of complicated fabrication processes. Here, we present a low-cost and mass-producible fabric filters for the viable CTC isolation and the further molecular assay for profiling cancer-associated markers. The fabric filter, produced by polyester monofilament yarns, can be massively produced at extremely low-cost, by showing productivity of ~22 filters/s at ~59 filters/USD. By utilizing size-based sorting method, the fabric filter is capable to isolate both epithelial and mesenchymal CTCs, while slots with curved walls are beneficial for preventing the cell rupture by reducing 21.6% of mechanical stress compared to the conventional straight-walled slots. We applied our filter to 11 human blood samples and found that the number of CTCs was closely related to the expression level of Ki-67, which is highly overexpressed in proliferative tumors. The fabric filter might be an appropriate caner-screening tool in developing countries, where people suffer from insufficient healthcare services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-755
Number of pages9
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - 15 May 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Converging Research Center Program funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (Project No. 2015054201).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Cancer clinical study
  • Circulating tumor cells
  • Fabric filter
  • Low-cost cancer diagnosis tool
  • Mass-producible medical device
  • Viable isolation


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