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Single cell microfluidic invasive assay is a method that can simultaneously track the migration of hundreds of individual cancer cells.

Cancer Invasion

Cancer invasion and metastasis are defining events that transform a locally developing tumor into a life-threatening, systemic, metastatic disease. Active tumor cell migration into the neighboring tissue follows the activation of signaling pathways that regulate cytoskeletal dynamics in tumor cells and the turnover of cell-matrix and cell-cell junctions. Metastasis occurs when invading tumor cells interact with blood and lymph vessels, pierce basement membranes and endothelial walls, and colonize distant organs via the vessel lumen. Similar to cells in original tumors, cells in secondary metastases grow, infiltrate, and enter blood arteries, resulting in secondary metastasis.

Cell and tumor biologists have identified the processes of cell migration in normal and malignant cells, such as the regulation of cell adhesion and cytoskeletal dynamics, over the past few decades. Attempts to identify the rate-limiting mechanisms that drive invasive and metastatic cancer cell migration, such as a dominant signaling pathway, receptor-ligand interaction, or protease-substrate interaction, have been generally unsuccessful. The invasion of cancer cells is currently viewed as a diverse and adaptable process. In fact, it is the "plasticity" of cell adhesion, cytoskeletal dynamics, and mechanotransduction that sustains migration and dissemination under varying structural, molecular, and even detrimental microenvironmental conditions.

The model of cancer cell invasion.Fig.1 The model of cancer cell invasion. (Novikov, 2020)

Single Cell Microfluidic Invasive Assay

The microfluidic device has the capability to simultaneously follow the migration of hundreds of individual cancer cells, thereby overcoming the constraints of conventional cancer invasion assays. As a consequence of this, the single cell microfluidic invasive test has the potential to give an accurate and high-throughput measurement of motility at the level of the single cell, and it also has the potential to become a screening tool for the investigation of cancer cell invasion.

Cell invasion in digital microfluidic microgel systems.Fig.2 Cell invasion in digital microfluidic microgel systems. (Li, 2020)

Creative Biolabs offers single cell microfluidic invasive assay services to better understand the migration of hundreds of individual cells simultaneously. If you have any requirements, please feel free to contact us for further communication about your project.


  1. Novikov, N.M.; et al. Mutational drivers of cancer cell migration and invasion. British Journal of Cancer. 2020, 124: 102-114.
  2. Li, B.B.; et al. Cell invasion in digital microfluidic microgel system. Science Advances. 2020, 6(29): eaba9589.
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