Interest in the identification and isolation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) has been growing since the introduction of CTCs as an alternative to the tumor tissue biopsy, which can potentially be important indices for prognosis and cancer treatment. However, the contamination of non-specific binding of normal hematologic cells makes high purity CTCs detection problematic. Furthermore, preserving the viability of CTCs remains a challenge. In this study, we proposed to construct an anti-EpCAM functionalized supported lipid bilayer (SLB), a biomimetic and non-fouling membrane coating, for CTCs capturing, purification and maintaining the viability. Healthy human blood spiked with pre-stained colorectal cancer cell lines, HCT116 and colo205, were used to investigate interaction of cells with the anti-EpCAM functionalized SLB surfaces. Over 97% of HCT116, and 72% of colo205 were captured and adhered by the surface anti-EpCAM; conversely, the majority of blood cells were easily removed by gentle buffer exchange, with the overall purity of cancer cells exceeding 95%. The bound cancer cells were subsequently detached for cell culture. Both HCT116 and colo205 continued to proliferate over 2-week observation period, indicating that the anti-EpCAM functionalized SLB platform providing a simple strategy for capturing, purifying, and releasing viable targeted rare cells.
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