Biocept, a provider of rare cell capture, has reported that the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent for its cell separation technology using a microfluidic device.

The US patent 7,695,956, entitled ‘Device for Cell Separation and Analysis and Method of Using,’ protects Biocept’s microflow device to isolate cells from a bodily fluid using a flow path where straight-line flow is interrupted by transverse posts arranged in a random pattern.

According to Biocept, sequestering agents, such as antibodies, are used to immobilise the cells in the cavity of the device. Cells can then be analysed inside the microchannel using morphological, immunohistochemical, or fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) tests, or the cells can be released from the channel for molecular analysis following extraction of DNA.

Stephen Coutts, president and CEO of Biocept, said: “This patent establishes Biocept’s position in using a microfluidic device to capture and analyze rare cells for prenatal or cancer applications. We are using this invention to develop tests in which we capture and analyse circulating tumor cells from a blood sample from cancer patients.

‚ÄúThese circulating tumor cells provide genetic information about the patient’s disease and can potentially guide the clinicians in making therapeutic choices to maximise patient response. We look forward to bringing this technology through to commercialization and making personalized medicine a reality for cancer patients and their families.”