Nano Science and Technology Institute

New technology allows scientists to capture and preserve cancer cells circulating in the bloodstream

January 20, 2013 12:37 PM EST By: Jennifer Rocha

RIKEN in Japan and University of California Los Angeles developed a novel nanoscale Velcro-like device

Story content courtesy of RIKEN Advanced Science Research, JP

The new device can capture and release tumor cells that have broken away from primary tumors and are circulating in the bloodstream.  This device could someday be used for cancer diagnosis and give insight into the mechanisms of how cancer spreads throughout the body.  The device provides a convenient and non-invasive alternative to biopsy, the current method for diagnosis of metastatic cancer.

Similar cell-capture devices have been reported but this technology is unique in that it is capable of catching the tumor cells with great efficiency and releasing them with great cell viability. Blood is passed through the device like a filter that contains a molecule capable of adhering to tumor cells like Velcro and separating them with efficiency ranging from 40% to 70%.

 

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