Characterization of drug effect on leukemia cells through single cell assay with optical tweezers and dielectrophoresis

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  • Ka Lam Ng
  • Anskar Y. H. Leung
  • Raymond Liang


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)820-827
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Nanobioscience
Issue number8
Online published19 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


One of the greatest challenges in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) treatment is preventing relapse. Leukemia cells can hide in bone marrow niche or vascular niche. Hence, many chemical drugs cannot kill these cells. To characterize migration and adhesion properties of leukemia cells in specific niches, CXCR4/SDF-1α signal pathway has been widely used for investigation. AMD3100 is treated as one of the most common chemical drugs that can inhibit this signal. In the current study, we particularly investigate the effect of AMD3100 on the adhesion property of leukemia cells on stromal cells by using engineering tools, namely, optical tweezers (OT) and dielectrophoresis (DEP), to probe single cell property. AMD3100 not only inhibits the CXCR4/SDF-1α signal pathway but also reduces gene expression of CXCR4 and VLA-4 on leukemia cells. The drug also softens leukemia cells. This work provides a new way to investigate cell behavior under drug treatment. The use of combined engineering tools will benefit drug discovery and assessment for leukemia treatment.

Research Area(s)

  • Cell adhesion, cell stretching, dielectrophoresis (DEP), drug assessment, leukemia, optical tweezers, stiffness

Citation Format(s)