Researchers pioneer effective new approach to "liquid biopsies"

February 26, 2016 by Reggie Kumar

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

Zebrafish larvae could be used as 'avatars' to optimize personalized treatment of cancer

August 21, 2017
Portuguese scientists have for the first time shown that the larvae of a tiny fish could one day become the preferred model for predicting, in advance, the response of human malignant tumors to the various therapeutic drugs ...

Scientists discover vitamin C regulates stem cell function, curbs leukemia development

August 21, 2017
Not much is known about stem cell metabolism, but a new study from the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) has found that stem cells take up unusually high levels of vitamin C, which then ...

Searching for the 'signature' causes of BRCAness in breast cancer

August 21, 2017
Breast cancer cells with defects in the DNA damage repair-genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 have a mutational signature (a pattern of base swaps—e.g., Ts for Gs, Cs for As—throughout a genome) known in cancer genomics as "Signature ...

How a non-coding RNA encourages cancer growth and metastasis

August 21, 2017
A mechanism that pushes a certain gene to produce a non-coding form of RNA instead of its protein-coding alternative can promote the growth of cancer, report researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) ...

Spaser can detect, kill circulating tumor cells to prevent cancer metastases, study finds

August 21, 2017
A nanolaser known as the spaser can serve as a super-bright, water-soluble, biocompatible probe capable of finding metastasized cancer cells in the blood stream and then killing these cells, according to a new research study.

Comprehensive genomic analysis offers insights into causes of Wilms tumor development

August 21, 2017
A comprehensive genomic analysis of Wilms tumor - the most common kidney cancer in children - found genetic mutations involving a large number of genes that fall into two major categories. These categories involve cellular ...

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.