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

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 ...

Recommended for you

Cancer hijacks natural cell process to survive

June 26, 2017

Cancer tumours manipulate a natural cell process to promote their survival suggesting that controlling this mechanism could stop progress of the disease, according to new research led by the University of Oxford.

Targeted drug shows promise in rare advanced kidney cancer

June 23, 2017

Some patients with a form of advanced kidney cancer that carries a poor prognosis benefited from an experimental drug targeted to an abnormal genetic pathway causing cancerous growth, according to research led by a Dana-Farber ...

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.