Researchers pioneer effective new approach to "liquid biopsies"

February 26, 2016 by Reggie Kumar, University of California, Los Angeles

Despite a growing interest in developing non-invasive methods to identify rare cancer cells or cancer cell DNA in blood, current techniques remain complicated and often prohibitively expensive. UCLA researchers have pioneered a more effective approach to these "liquid biopsies" that has the potential to offer a streamlined and low-cost solution for people with cancer.

The technology works by creating millimeter-scale whirlpools to draw in and concentrate circulating , known as CTCs, based on their size. CTCs are often larger than normal blood cells, and their presence can be used to monitor disease. Analysis of these cells may provide critical information about which treatments will be most effective for an individual patient, and even may even indicate whether those receiving a particular therapy are likely to relapse.

"CTCs are extremely rare, so isolating them is a problem similar to finding a needle in a haystack," said Dino Di Carlo, director of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Nanotechnology Program Area and professor of bioengineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering. "Our filterless system avoids issues of previous technologies that clog and break cells apart, and we found this approach was more effective than technologies currently available at isolating from breast and ."

Explore further: Spanish researchers patent new methods that allow to identify the cells causing metastasis in cancer

More information: Classification of large circulating tumor cells isolated with ultra-high throughput microfluidic Vortex technology. DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.7220

Related Stories

Spanish researchers patent new methods that allow to identify the cells causing metastasis in cancer

February 4, 2016
Researchers have patented a new method that identifies the cells causing metastasis in cancer, with a simple blood analysis.

Researchers use genetically modified circulating tumor cells to kill other tumors

February 9, 2016
(Medical Xpress)—An international team of medical researchers has found a way to use a kind of cancer cell as a cargo vessel of sorts to kill already existing tumors. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National ...

Researchers isolate cells implicated with breast cancer-derived brain tumors

December 3, 2015
Researchers from the Houston Methodist Research Institute have isolated genetic signatures of some circulating tumor cells (CTCs) found in breast cancer, which one day may lead to a preventive treatment for metastatic cancer ...

Arteries better than veins for liquid biopsy

September 24, 2015
As the field of liquid biopsies for tracking disease progression and therapeutic response heats up, many doctors are looking for ways to apply this approach to their patients. Currently, assays for circulating tumor cells ...

Are we ready for a blood test for cancer?

January 25, 2016
What if screening for cancer was as easy as checking your cholesterol? That's the promise of techniques currently in development that may one day make it possible to detect the earliest stages of cancer with an annual blood ...

Circulating tumor cells provide genomic snapshot of breast cancer

October 8, 2014
The genetic fingerprint of a metastatic cancer is constantly changing, which means that the therapy that may have stopped a patient's cancer growth today, won't necessarily work tomorrow. Although doctors can continue to ...

Recommended for you

MR spectroscopy imaging reveals effects of targeted treatment of mutant IDH1 gliomas

May 18, 2018
Using a novel imaging method, a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team is investigating the mechanisms behind a potential targeted treatment for a subtype of the deadly brains tumors called gliomas. In their report ...

Particle shows promise to prevent the spread of triple-negative breast cancer

May 18, 2018
USC researchers have pinpointed a remedy to prevent the spread of triple-negative breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is a leading cause of death for women. The findings appear today in Nature Communications.

Dilemma for cancer patients as life-saving meds are tied to vision loss

May 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—A newer type of cancer treatment may offer the chance of longer survival, but the drugs could also trigger new side effects, such as vision problems.

Polygenic scores to classify cancer risk

May 18, 2018
Polygenic risk scores could be useful to stratify the risk of several cancers among patients in medical centers, allowing for the potential discovery of new associations between genes, disease and secondary effects, according ...

A way to prevent pancreatic cancer from spreading post-surgery?

May 17, 2018
Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have solved a mystery about how pancreatic cancer spreads following surgery in patients whose tumor is successfully removed. After surgery, patients' typically experience ...

Erectile dysfunction drugs and flu vaccine may work together to help immune system fight cancer after surgery

May 17, 2018
A new study suggests that a common treatment for erectile dysfunction combined with the flu vaccine may be able to help the immune system mop up cancer cells left behind after surgery. The study, published in OncoImmunology, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.