New method of counting tumor cells offers possibility of a “liquid biopsy”

From Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute: In a new study published in the Journal of Chromatography A, Cleveland Clinic researchers, led by Aaron Fleischman, PhD and Maciej Zborowski, PhD, reveal findings from a new device they've developed to identify and perform differential counts of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood of patients with carcinomas which may indicate the risk of their cancer metastasizing.

Currently, clinicians are limited in diagnoses and treatment by existing methods of assessing this risk through CTC detection. The team's new method may be more accurate than existing methods and help clinicians better assess the risk of cancer metastasis.

“We have refined the cell separators by innovative engineering of the gradated magnetic field and matching microfluidics for magnetic, graduated CTC separation, according to the level of their epithelial cell adhesion molecule marker expression,” said Dr. Zborowski, a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center's Developmental Therapeutics Program. “This represents their metastatic potential better than a simple yes-or-no answer possible with the current magnetic cell separation methods.”

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