To date, clinical tests that assess the level of malignancies from patient biopsies rely almost inclusively on histological analysis for specific markers and morphological cues as well as on genetic data i.e mutation analysis. In spite of the increasing evidence showing a correlation between mechanical properties of cells and their malignancy, there are no currently available experimental tools for using this property as a selective principle to detect malignancy and cell functionality, or to target specific drug vehicles based on the mechanical differences.
We demonstrated a link between cell elasticity, malignancy and their capacity to uptake particles with varying properties. A simple incubation of patient-derived cancer cells with bar-coded particles and data analysis would provide a fast “point of care” diagnostics tool to predict the level of malignancy of tumor cells. Particle bar-coding is based on specific fluorescence that is associated with specific particle properties (e.g size, shape or elasticity). In this form, one drop can contain many various labeled particles that would provide a reporter for specific cell uptake patterns associated with malignancy. The assay would eventually provide a complete, on chip device which would accommodate the cells and their fluorescent analysis. Based on the same assay we would be able also to determine the optimized properties of drug vehicle per individual.