A research team jointly led by scientists from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the University of California, Los Angeles, have enhanced a device they developed to identify and "grab" circulating tumor cells, or CTCs, that break away from cancers and enter the blood, often leading to the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.
If more studies confirm the technology's effectiveness, the NanoVelcro Chip device could enable doctors to access and identify cancerous cells in the bloodstream, which would provide the diagnostic information needed to create individually tailored treatments for patients with prostate cancer.
The researchers believe this technology may function as a "liquid biopsy," revolutionizing conventional biopsy practices and significantly advancing the field of personalized medicine. Today's biopsies require the removal of tissue samples through a needle inserted into a solid tumor, a procedure that is invasive and sometimes painful. Biopsies are extremely difficult in metastatic prostate cancer because the disease often spreads to bone, where the availability of the tissue is low.
The biggest challenges in the treatment of cancer are that every person's tumor differs greatly and often mutates over time, especially in response to treatment. Researchers hope that by analyzing these CTCs, doctors will be able to understand the tumor evolution in each individual. By monitoring the genetic changes in CTCs and their invasiveness in a tissue culture dish, doctors may be able to quickly adjust their treatment plans in response.
"We are optimistic that the use of our NanoVelcro CTC technology will revolutionize prostate cancer treatment. We know that cancers evolve over time and that every patient's cancer is a unique problem — the 'one-size-fits-all' approach is not going to allow us to cure prostate cancer or any other cancer," said Edwin M. Posadas, MD, medical director of the Urologic Oncology Program at Cedars-Sinai's Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and senior author of the article in the March online issue of Advanced Materials.
"This evolution means that we need to be able to monitor these changes over time and to ensure a patient's treatment is individualized and optimized. The molecular characterizations of CTCs will provide real-time information allowing us to choose the right treatment for the right patient at the right time. This improvement will be a great step toward developing personalized medicine," he added.
The existence of CTCs and their role in cancer metastasis was first suspected more than 140 years ago, and the first test for the routine measurement of CTCs became available in 2004, but earlier methods have produced low capture efficiencies and limited capability of captured cells to be utilized for later molecular analysis.
"Our technology is the combination of three state-of-the-art technologies: the NanoVelcro CTC chip, laser capture microdissection and whole exome sequencing," said Yi-Tsung Lu, MD, a postdoctoral scientist at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, and one of the article's first authors. "This advancement will, in principle, allow us to track the genomic evolution of prostate cancer after we initiate a therapy and will allow us to better understand the mechanism of drug resistance that is common in prostate cancer patients. We hope the comprehensive understanding of cancer biology at the individual level will ultimately lead to better therapy choice for patients suffering from advanced cancer."
With the new system, a patient's blood is pumped through the NanoVelcro Chip — the microvilli protruding from the cancer cells will stick to the nanofiber structures on the device's surface, much like Velcro. This phenomenon facilitates the capture of rare CTCs in the blood stream. Next, laser capture microdissection technology allows the scientists to selectively cut out and pick up the CTCs from the NanoVelcro Chip, virtually eliminating any trace of any contamination from white blood cells, which can complicate analysis. Finally, the isolated and purified CTCs are subjected to single cell "next-generation" sequencing, which reveals mutations in the genetic material of the cells and may help doctors personalize therapies to a patient's unique cancer.
"To date, CTC capture technologies have been able to do little more than count the number of CTCs, which is informative but not very useful from a treatment planning perspective. It is a scientific breakthrough to have the ability to isolate pure CTCs and maintain their integrity for sophisticated genomic and behavioral analyses," said Hsian-Rong Tseng, PhD, associate professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at UCLA and the inventor of the NanoVelcro Chip concept and device. His enthusiasm is echoed by Leland W. K. Chung, PhD, director of the Urologic Oncology Research Program at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA and VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Beijing Genomics Institute in China, CytoLumina Technologies Corp. and Fourth Military Medical University in China contributed to the article.
Cedars-Sinai researchers were supported by a Young Investigator Award and a Challenge Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation, research grants (P01 CA098912 and R01 CA122602) from the National Institutes of Health, a Department of Defense Idea Award (W81XWH-11-1-0422) and from Spielberg Family Foundation. UCLA researchers were supported by a Creativity Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation and research grants (R21 CA151159 and R33 CA157396) from the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies (IMAT) Program.
Citation: Advanced Materials, "High-Purity Prostate Circulating Tumor Cell Isolation by a Polymer Nanofiber-Embedded Microchip for Whole Exome Sequencing," March 2013 issue.
Cara Lasala | EurekAlert!
Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences