In a recent publication of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Nanyang Technological University Singapore, demonstrated a platform based on sound waves to separate Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) from a 7.5-ml vial of blood. The process took less than an hour and succeeded with 86 percent efficiency.
The CTCs, which are small pieces of a tumor that break away and flow through the bloodstream. They contain information about the tumor, such as its type, physical characteristics and genetic mutations that can help doctors with prognosis and determining the most effective treatments. The separation of CTCs from blood samples was the subject of the Outside the Box Column 17 published on June 11, 2018: http://www.dub.works/blog/post/early-detection-of-circulating-tumor-cells
Watch the informative video from Duke University: https://youtu.be/XdmCK8AflZk
The ability to quickly harvest and grow CTCs from a blood sample would enable "liquid biopsies" that could provide a reliable method diagnosis, prognosis and treatment suggestions based on CTC profiling, the researchers say. Tony Jun Huang, the William Bevan Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University, said "Biopsy is the gold standard technique for cancer diagnosis, but it is painful and invasive and is often not administered until late in the cancer's development," but using sound waves to separate CTCs is easier and faster than standard biopsies.
This use of sound waves to separate CTCs is just another innovative development in the relentless pursuit for improved treatment of cancer by the medical research community. Is this development a “paradigm changer”? Not yet, but like other emerging cancer diagnostic techniques, it certainly has the potential to become a real innovation.
What do you think?