Stem cell transplantations are part of the standard treatment for high-risk neuroblastoma patients to support the recovery of the patient’s blood building system. Usually, the patients own cells are collected at the beginning of the treatment and transplanted after extensive treatment with chemotherapy and radiation to eradicate the cancer. However, contaminating tumor cells that can be contained in the transplant pose a risk for relapse of the cancer. In clinical settings these tumor cells have long been removed by magnetic bead selection of the stem cells. Olm et al. (2019) demonstrated that acoustophoresis can be applied to remove tumor cells from stem cell collections (PBPCs).
The acoustic separation is possible due to the size differences between the stem cell collection (blue) and neuroblastoma cells (red) as illustrated in the figure. This enables to separate these cell types solely based on their acoustophysical properties without the necessity for additional labeling. Neuroblastoma cells (NBC) move faster in the acoustic field and are collected in the center outlet. PBPCs that are less effected by the acoustic field are collected in the side outlet, thus providing a purged stem cell collection for transplantation.
Olm, F., Urbansky, A., Dykes, J.H., Laurell, T. & Scheding, S. Label-free neuroblastoma cell separation from hematopoietic progenitor cell products using acoustophoresis - towards cell processing of complex biological samples. Sci Rep9, 8777 (2019).