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Recent advances in microfluidic platforms for single-cell analysis in cancer biology, diagnosis and therapy

Understanding molecular, cellular, genetic and functional heterogeneity of tumors at the single-cell level has become a major challenge for cancer research. The microfluidic technique has emerged as an important tool that offers advantages in analyzing single-cells with the capability to integrate time-consuming and labor-intensive experimental procedures such as single-cell capture into a single microdevice at ease and in a high-throughput fashion. Single-cell manipulation and analysis can be implemented within a multi-functional microfluidic device for various applications in cancer research. Here, we present recent advances of microfluidic devices for single-cell analysis pertaining to cancer biology, diagnostics, and therapeutics. We first concisely introduce various microfluidic platforms used for single-cell analysis, followed with different microfluidic techniques for single-cell manipulation. Then, we highlight their various applications in cancer research, with an emphasis on cancer biology, diagnosis, and therapy. Current limitations and prospective trends of microfluidic single-cell analysis are discussed at the end.

Source: TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 117, August 2019, Pages 13-26 ,  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trac.2019.05.010

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