• Mike Adelstein
  • October 11, 2022

For National Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
Advancing Diagnostics & R&D with Microfluidic Technology

For National Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
Advancing Diagnostics & R&D with Microfluidic Technology

There is a reason that Media Personality Katie Couric announced her June breast cancer diagnosis in the first few days of October. The TV news pioneer strategically timed her public reveal with the start of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Started in 1991 by the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the annual month of educational activities provide women with the knowledge and tools to fight a disease that strikes 1 in 8 women in her lifetime.

October is also a time when fundraising efforts for breast cancer support activities like free screening and mammograms for underserved women, and most importantly, research efforts for early diagnosis and new treatment models, are highlighted

Microfluidics Role in Advancing Breast Cancer R&D

Evolution of Organ-on-a-Chip to Tumor-on-a-Chip

Potomac is a leader in microfluidic device fabrication.

Microfluidic devices have been changing how researchers study organ function in order to better understand the physiology, biology, and chemistry of hearts, lungs, kidneys, as well as the duct system in the human breast. Organ-On-A-Chip has significant improvements over cell cultures or animal models by creating micro-environments that duplicate in vivo tissue and cellular level activities. Organ-on-a-Chip then increases the ability to predict physiological responses.

Similarly, researchers have been able to recreate tumors in microfluidic devices. Scientific papers document mimicking the formation and growth of breast cancer cells into tumors, going as far as the total metastasis of the cancer. Studies are demonstrating significant advantage in the Tumor-on-a-Chip technology to study the progression of the disease with better prediction of outcomes.

Drug Discovery and Diagnostics

Clearly, testing new drug concepts on a Tumor that better simulates true human breast cancer reactions can speed time to market for more effective, affordable treatments. Many scientists believe that current in vitro models cannot re-create relevant cues in the microenvironment, which then negatively impacts the results of drug-testing efficiency.

The combined benefits of Organ-On-A-Chip and Tumor-On-A-Chip are then big advances in the speed at which we can fight breast cancer. By better understanding the function of the breast’s complex system, researchers can develop new diagnostic methodologies many of which also employ microfluidics technologies.

Potomac Microfluidic Device Manufacturing Contributions to Breast Cancer Research

Potomac has been the manufacturer of choice for a large number of breast cancer research teams from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to Johns Hopkins University and many more leading institutions.

Our expertise in advanced manufacturing for microfluidics covers all elements of device fabrication from machining channels in glass and polymers to high-speed replication in volume production. Potomac’s wide range of tools and capabilities includes laser and CNC micro-machining, 3D Printing, micro-molding, SU photolithography, automated inspection for quality control, and more!

Of particular note are our material joining processes since high-throughput applications require microfluidic devices that completely seal liquids. This is especially important in drug discovery and screening where efficacy data directly impacts FDA approvals. Potomac has developed strong bonding techniques and pioneered laser micro-welding of plastics to ensure minimal leakage.

With extensive experience in high volume production, Potomac also understands exactly how to prototype a device that will seamlessly transition to the factory floor. Design for Manufacturability is essential to reduce time to market and with that, we can quickly put an end to breast cancer.



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