New device could detect cancer cells in blood more effectively

New device could detect cancer cells in blood more effectively
Credit: Tae Hyun Kim.

In a new study, researchers have developed a new ‘wearable’ device could capture cancer cells from blood.

The invention could help doctors diagnose and treat cancer more effectively.

The research was conducted by a team of engineers and doctors at the University of Michigan.

Previous studies have found that tumors can release more than 1,000 cancer cells into the bloodstream in one single minute.

Most cancer cells can’t survive in the bloodstream, but those that can survive are more likely to start a new tumor.

Currently, capturing cancer cells from blood relies on samples from the patient. But a typical sample contains no more than 10 cancer cells.

Some blood samples contain no cancer cells even in patients with advanced cancer.

To solve the problem and find a better way to capture cancer cells in blood, the researchers developed the prototype wearable device.

It could continuously capture cancer cells directly from the vein, screening much larger volumes of a patient’s blood just within a couple of hours.

The device shrinks a machine that is typically the size of an oven down to something that could be worn on the wrist and connected to a vein in the arm.

The chip of the machine uses the nanomaterial graphene oxide to create dense forests of antibody-tipped molecular chains.

It can trap more than 80% of the cancer cells in whole blood that flows across it.

In addition, the chip can be used to grow the captured cancer cells, producing larger samples for further analysis.

In animal tests, the device could trap 3.5 times as many cancer cells as it did running samples collected by blood draw.

The researchers suggest that this tool provides useful information about tumor biology and direct care for the patients.

It will be very helpful in the diagnosis of cancers because patients hate biopsy.

Moreover, because the cancer cells in the blood are often metastases, the new tool could provide better information for planning cancer treatments.

In their future work, the team hopes to increase the blood processing rate in the device. They estimate the device could begin human trials in three to five years.

The senior author of the study is Daniel F. Hayes, M.D., the Stuart B. Padnos Professor of Breast Cancer Research at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center.

Sunitha Nagrath, Ph.D., associate professor of chemical engineering at U-M, led the development of the device.

The study is published in Nature Communications.

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