In new research, engineers from MIT, Penn State University, and Carnegie Melon were able to separate cells by exposing them to soundwaves as they flow through a tiny channel.

Different cells respond differently to the same soundwaves, which results in them separating from one another. Specifically depicted are white blood cells and cancer cells separating at a fork in the artificially produced channel. With many improvements coming to the device yet, and many that have already come – the importance of this research is that scientists have been able to isolate rare circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in provided blood samples.

The procedure is minimally invasive and opens the door for better cancer diagnosis and prognosis as well as new therapy techniques. To say this isn’t revolutionary would be a lie, but do understand that this isn’t a cancer removal technique. Dissimilar to radiation therapy or other aggressive cancer treatments, this new method will simply make it easier to identify cancer cells quicker, and give a deeper insight into the condition of the patient.

Watch the full video from MIT News below.