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iLoF: An intelligent Lab on Fiber Approach for Human Cancer Single-Cell Type Identification

Journal article
Authors J. S. Paiva
P. A. S. Jorge
R. S. R. Ribeiro
M. Balmaña
D. Campos
S. Mereiter
Chunsheng Jin
Niclas G. Karlsson
P. Sampaio
C. A. Reis
J. P. S. Cunha
Published in Scientific Reports
Volume 10
Issue 1
Pages 3171
ISSN 20452322 (ISSN)
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages 3171
Language en
Subject categories Cell biology


With the advent of personalized medicine, there is a movement to develop "smaller" and "smarter" microdevices that are able to distinguish similar cancer subtypes. Tumor cells display major differences when compared to their natural counterparts, due to alterations in fundamental cellular processes such as glycosylation. Glycans are involved in tumor cell biology and they have been considered to be suitable cancer biomarkers. Thus, more selective cancer screening assays can be developed through the detection of specific altered glycans on the surface of circulating cancer cells. Currently, this is only possible through time-consuming assays. In this work, we propose the "intelligent" Lab on Fiber (iLoF) device, that has a high-resolution, and which is a fast and portable method for tumor single-cell type identification and isolation. We apply an Artificial Intelligence approach to the back-scattered signal arising from a trapped cell by a micro-lensed optical fiber. As a proof of concept, we show that iLoF is able to discriminate two human cancer cell models sharing the same genetic background but displaying a different surface glycosylation profile with an accuracy above 90% and a speed rate of 2.3 seconds. We envision the incorporation of the iLoF in an easy-to-operate microchip for cancer identification, which would allow further biological characterization of the captured circulating live cells.

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