Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Liquid biopsy could improve cancer diagnosis and treatment

Abstract:
A microfluidic chip developed at the University of Michigan is among the best at capturing elusive circulating tumor cells from blood—and it can support the cells' growth for further analysis.

Liquid biopsy could improve cancer diagnosis and treatment

Ann Arbor, MI | Posted on September 30th, 2013

The device, believed to be the first to pair these functions, uses the advanced electronics material graphene oxide. In clinics, such a device could one day help doctors diagnose cancers, give more accurate prognoses and test treatment options on cultured cells without subjecting patients to traditional biopsies.

"If we can get these technologies to work, it will advance new cancer drugs and revolutionize the treatment of cancer patients," said Dr. Max Wicha, director of the U-M Cancer Center and co-author of a paper on the new device, published online this week in Nature Nanotechnology.

"Circulating tumor cells will play a significant role in the early diagnosis of cancer and to help us understand if treatments are working in our cancer patients by serving as a 'liquid' biopsy to assess treatment responses in real time," said co-author Dr. Diane Simeone, the Lazar J. Greenfield Professor of Surgery at the U-M Medical School and director of the Translational Oncology Program.

"Studies of circulating tumor cells will also help us understand the basic biologic mechanisms by which cancer cells metastasize or spread to distant organs—the major cause of death in cancer patients."

Yet these cells aren't living up to their promise in medicine because they are so difficult to separate from a blood sample, the researchers say. In the blood of early-stage cancer patients, they account for less than one in every billion cells, so catching them is tougher than finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

"I can burn the haystack or use a huge magnet," said Sunitha Nagrath, an assistant professor of chemical engineering, who led the research. "When it comes to circulating tumor cells, they almost look like—feel like—any other blood cell."

On their microfluidic chip, Nagrath's team grew dense forests of molecular chains, each equipped with an antibody to grab onto cancer cells.

Even after the cells are caught, it's still hard to run a robust analysis on just a handful of them, the researchers say. That's why this demonstration of highly sensitive tumor cell capture, combined with the ability to grow the cells in the same device, is so promising.

Hyeun Joong Yoon, a postdoctoral researcher in the Nagrath lab with a background in electrical engineering, was instrumental in making the microfluidic chip. He started with a silicon base and added a grid of nearly 60,000 flat gold shapes, like four-petaled flowers, each no wider than a strand of hair.

The gold flowers naturally attracted a relatively new material called graphene oxide. These sheets of carbon and oxygen, just a few atoms thick, layered themselves over the gold. This layered formation allowed the team to grow the tumor-cell-catching molecular chains so densely.

"It's almost like each graphene has many nano-arms to capture cells," Nagrath said.

To test the device, the team ran one-milliliter samples of blood through the chip's thin chamber. Even when they had added just three-to-five cancer cells to the 5-10 billion blood cells, the chip was able to capture all of the cells in the sample half the time, with an average of 73 percent over 10 trials.

"That's the highest anybody has shown in the literature for spiking such a low number of cells," Nagrath said.

The team counted the captured cancer cells by tagging them with fluorescent molecules and viewing them through a microscope. These tags made the cancer cells easy to distinguish from accidentally caught blood cells. They also grew breast cancer cells over six days, using an electron microscope to see how they spread across the gold flowers.

"When you have individual cells, the amount of material in each cell is often so small that it's hard to develop molecular assays," Wicha said. "This device allows the cells to be grown into larger quantities so you can do a genetic analysis more easily."

The chip could capture pancreatic, breast and lung cancer cells from patient samples. Nagrath was surprised that the device was able to catch about four tumor cells per milliliter of blood from the lung cancer patients, even though they had the early-stage form of the disease.

Working in a team that comprises both engineers and medical professionals at U-M, Nagrath is optimistic that the new technique could reach clinics in three years.

The paper is titled "Sensitive capture of circulating tumor cells by functionalized graphene oxide nanosheets." The university is pursuing patent protection for the intellectual property and is seeking commercialization partners to help bring the technology to market.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Kate McAlpine

734-763-4386

Copyright © University of Michigan

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Sunitha Nagrath:

Translational Oncology Program:

Related News Press

News and information

Ultracold atom waves may shed light on rogue ocean killers: Rice quantum experiments probe underlying physics of rogue ocean waves April 27th, 2017

Looking for the quantum frontier: Beyond classical computing without fault-tolerance? April 27th, 2017

Metal nanoparticles induced visible-light photocatalysis: Mechanisms, applications, ways of promoting catalytic activity and outlook April 27th, 2017

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2017 Second Quarter Results April 27th, 2017

Microfluidics/Nanofluidics

Using light to propel water : With new method, MIT engineers can control and separate fluids on a surface using only visible light April 25th, 2017

Nano-SPEARs gently measure electrical signals in small animals: Rice University's tiny needles simplify data gathering to probe diseases, test drugs April 17th, 2017

Graphene/ Graphite

Graphene holds up under high pressure: Used in filtration membranes, ultrathin material could help make desalination more productive April 24th, 2017

Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years: First definitive experimental evidence of two-dimensional melting of hard spheres April 21st, 2017

Researchers “iron out” graphene’s wrinkles: New technique produces highly conductive graphene wafers April 3rd, 2017

Chip Technology

Geoffrey Beach: Drawn to explore magnetism: Materials researcher is working on the magnetic memory of the future April 25th, 2017

'Neuron-reading' nanowires could accelerate development of drugs for neurological diseases April 12th, 2017

Nanometrics to Announce First Quarter Financial Results on May 2, 2017 April 11th, 2017

AIM Photonics Presents Cutting-Edge Integrated Photonics Technology Developments to Packed House at OFC 2017, the Optical Networking and Communication Conference & Exhibition April 11th, 2017

Nanomedicine

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2017 Second Quarter Results April 27th, 2017

New Product Nanoparticle preparation from Intertronics with new Thinky NP-100 Nano Pulveriser April 26th, 2017

Nanoparticle vaccine shows potential as immunotherapy to fight multiple cancer types April 24th, 2017

Arrowhead Presents ARC-520 and ARC-521 Clinical Data at The International Liver Congress(TM) April 20th, 2017

Discoveries

Ultracold atom waves may shed light on rogue ocean killers: Rice quantum experiments probe underlying physics of rogue ocean waves April 27th, 2017

Looking for the quantum frontier: Beyond classical computing without fault-tolerance? April 27th, 2017

Metal nanoparticles induced visible-light photocatalysis: Mechanisms, applications, ways of promoting catalytic activity and outlook April 27th, 2017

Geoffrey Beach: Drawn to explore magnetism: Materials researcher is working on the magnetic memory of the future April 25th, 2017

Announcements

Ultracold atom waves may shed light on rogue ocean killers: Rice quantum experiments probe underlying physics of rogue ocean waves April 27th, 2017

Looking for the quantum frontier: Beyond classical computing without fault-tolerance? April 27th, 2017

Metal nanoparticles induced visible-light photocatalysis: Mechanisms, applications, ways of promoting catalytic activity and outlook April 27th, 2017

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2017 Second Quarter Results April 27th, 2017

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Ultracold atom waves may shed light on rogue ocean killers: Rice quantum experiments probe underlying physics of rogue ocean waves April 27th, 2017

Looking for the quantum frontier: Beyond classical computing without fault-tolerance? April 27th, 2017

Metal nanoparticles induced visible-light photocatalysis: Mechanisms, applications, ways of promoting catalytic activity and outlook April 27th, 2017

Video captures bubble-blowing battery in action: Researchers propose how bubbles form, could lead to smaller lithium-air batteries April 26th, 2017

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

Forge Nano 2017: 1st Quarter Media Update April 20th, 2017

Making Batteries From Waste Glass Bottles: UCR researchers are turning glass bottles into high performance lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and personal electronics April 19th, 2017

'Neuron-reading' nanowires could accelerate development of drugs for neurological diseases April 12th, 2017

Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm: Microstructures create temporary pores in cells March 27th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project