In recent years, surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices have demonstrated great potentials and increasing applications in the manipulation of nano- and microparticles including biological cells with the advantages of label-free, high sensitivity and accuracy. In this letter, we introduce a novel tilted-angle SAW devices to optimise the acoustic pressure inside a microchannel for cancer-cell manipulation. The SAW generation and acoustic radiation force are improved by seamlessly patterning electrodes in the space surrounding the microchannel. Comparisons between this novel SAW device and a conventional device show a 32% enhanced separation efficiency while the input power, manufacturing cost and fabrication effort remain the same. Effective separation of HeLa cancer cells from peripheral blood mononuclear cells is demonstrated. This novel SAW device has the advantages in minimizing device power consumption, lowering component footprint and increasing device density.