3D pathology is intrinsically dependent on 3D microscopy, or the whole tissue imaging of patient tissue biopsies (TBs). Consequently, unsectioned needle specimens must be processed whole: a procedure which cannot necessarily be accomplished through manual methods, or by retasking automated pathology machines. Thus "millifluidic" devices (for millimeter-scale biopsies) are an ideal solution for tissue handling/preparation. TBs are large, messy and a solid-liquid mixture; they vary in material, geometry and structure based on the organ biopsied, the clinician skill and the needle type used. As a result, traditional microfluidic devices are insufficient to handle such mm-sized samples and their associated fabrication techniques are impractical and costly with respect to time/efficiency. Our research group has devised a simple, rapid fabrication process for millifluidic devices using jointed skeletal molds composed of machined, reusable metal rods, segmented rods and stranded wire as structural cores; these cores are surrounded by Teflon outer housing. We can therefore produce curving, circular-cross-section (CCCS) millifluidic channels in rapid fashion that cannot normally be achieved by microfabrication, micro-/CNC-machining, or 3D printing. The approach has several advantages. CLINICAL: round channels interface coring needles. PROCESSING: CCCS channels permit multi-layer device designs for additional (processing, monitoring, testing) stages. REUSABILITY: for a biopsy/needle diameter, molding (interchangeable) components may be produced one-time then reused for other designs. RAPID: structural cores can be quickly removed due to Teflon®'s ultra-low friction; housing may be released with ethanol; PDMS volumes cure faster since metal skeleton molds conduct additional heat from within the curing elastomer.
Ronnie Das, Chris W. Burfeind, Saniel D. Lim, Shubham Patle, and Eric J. Seibel, "Pathology in a tube step 2: simple rapid fabrication of curved circular cross section millifluidic channels for biopsy preparation/3D imaging towards pancreatic cancer detection and diagnosis," Proc. SPIE 10491, Microfluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems XVI, 1049118 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 30, 2018; Published: 19 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2291018.
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