A Microfluidic Device with Microscale Wavy Pattern for Efficient Capturing of Circulating Tumor Cells


Lehigh University has developed a wavy micropatterned microfluidic device for capturing circulating tumor cells from whole blood with high efficiency, selectivity and throughput. A capturing agent is immobilized on the substrate that can selectively capture circulating tumor cells while not interacting with other cells present in the whole blood. The substrate surface has repetitive wave-herringbone structures, which can induce a rotational flow. The rotational flow can enhance the collision of circulating tumor cells with the substrate surface, therefore increasing the capture efficiency of the circulating tumor cells. This wave-herringbone structure differs from a traditional herringbone groove structure in the fact that it is comprised of sinusoidal waves extending in two directions as opposed to sharp ridges. This structure can also keep the morphology of circulating tumor cells intact, which is important for various post-analyses.


Physicians or clinicians could use the proposed invention to capture circulating tumor cells in patients' whole blood, which then allows for various post-analyses to be carried out on intact cells. For example, with certain techniques, this device could indicate the number of captured circulating tumor cells, which could serve as typical indicators for different specific diseases. Another example is that after circulating tumor cells are captured, the cells could be analyzed to reveal their genetic and protein information, thus providing a guide for potential treatments, and even the possibility of personalized treatment.


Lehigh Tech ID# 092713-01



The most likely market is companion diagnostics for cancer and autoimmune disease therapeutics. Companion diagnostics are diagnostic tests that are linked to a particular drug/therapy and the market is growing due to developments in biomarkers and the unmet need in specific therapeutic areas.  The global life science and analytical reagents market was valued at over $40 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach almost $60 billion by 2016.



Lehigh University is initially interested in identifying industry partners to co-develop the technology, ultimately leading to licensing.

App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Provisional [PR] United States 61/937,709 2/10/2014   2/2/2015
Utility United States 14/618,246 10,401,362 2/10/2015 9/3/2019  
For Information, Contact:
Rick Smith
Lehigh University
Yaling Liu
Shu Yang
Yi Liu