News release from Mass General Hospital dated 4/3/13...
"The new system was able to process blood samples at the extremely rapid rate of 10 million cells per second, handling a tube of blood in less than an hour. Both the mode of sorting out tagged CTCs, called tumor-antigen-dependent, and the technique that depletes white blood cells, called tumor-antigen-independent, recovered more than 80 percent of tumor cells from different types of cancer that had been added to blood samples. Comparison of the antigen-dependent-mode CTC-iChip with existing commercial technology for processing blood samples from patients with prostate, breast, pancreatic, colorectal and lung cancer showed the CTC-iChip to be more sensitive at detecting low levels of CTCs."
"In the antigen-independent mode, the CTC-iChip successfully identified CTCs from several types of cancers that had lost or never had the epithelial marker, including triple-negative breast cancer and melanoma."
Big improvement. This system is not dependent on specific antigen presentation in order to detect CTC's. If a particular cancer lacks the target antigen or CTC's have undergone mesenchymal transition, the existing CellSearch system will miss them. I see many uses for the CTC technology. Early cancer detection with a simple blood test, genetic typing without a biopsy, diagnosis of progression, use as a surrogate endpoint in clinical trials, when properly validated this is a very promising technology.
I am hoping this will replace the PSA tests used for prostate cancer screening. I don't think there is an answer yet as to why the PSA levels fluctuate so much when on cabo. This along with companies like Organovo will totally change how cancer drugs are tested and developed over the next 5-10 years.