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Inside the Lab Oncology, Cytology, Technology and innovation

Controlling CTC Capture

Despite the new diagnostic potential afforded by liquid biopsies and circulating tumor cells (CTC), many such assays – even FDA-approved ones – suffer from low sensitivity, which has restricted their usefulness as prognostic indicators and limited their widespread adoption. A group of researchers wanted to boost CTC detection by improving the capture step (1). “First, we identified two strategies – cell rolling and multivalent binding – that can improve CTC capture,” says Andrew Wang (pictured), study author and Associate Professor in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine’s Department of Radiation Oncology. “Second, we showed that higher CTC capture sensitivity may enable CTC as a predictive biomarker and a biomarker for disease surveillance.”

Using a nanotechnology-based assay called CapioCyte, they discovered that cell rolling and multivalent binding could increase CTC capture by up to 38 percent. The assay enabled the researchers to detect CTCs in all patients in their study, and to detect CTC increases and decreases among patients.

Now, Wang says the team is working to develop cancer-specific CTC detection chips. “In addition, we are exploring clinical indications for CTC. We have formed a company and are working to commercialize the detection chip and instrument.”

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  1. JH Myung et al., “Multivalent binding and biomimetic cell rolling improves the sensitivity and specificity of circulating tumor cell capture”, Clin Cancer Res, [Epub ahead of print] (2018). PMID: 29545463.
About the Author
William Aryitey

My fascination with science, gaming, and writing led to my studying biology at university, while simultaneously working as an online games journalist. After university, I travelled across Europe, working on a novel and developing a game, before finding my way to Texere. As Associate Editor, I’m evolving my loves of science and writing, while continuing to pursue my passion for gaming and creative writing in a personal capacity.

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