A team of engineers working at the Worcester POlytechnic Institute (WPI) recently came up with a chip that can catch and recognize metastatic cancer cells in a very small quantity of blood that is drawn from cancer patients. The newly developed technology makes use of a straightforward mechanical method that has proved to be highly efficient in trapping cancer cells. It is a step ahead from the regular microfluidic approach that is used by rest present day devices. The device prepared by WPI engineers makes use of antibodies that are attached with a long range of carbon nanotubes placed at the bottom of a small well. Cancerous cells go and settle down in the well’s bottom where they bind selectively with antibodies located on their surface markers.
The newly developed technology is quite capable of becoming a mainstream examination for metastatic cancer cells on a primary stage. Metastasis is defined as a procedure through which cancer spreads from one part of body to another specially using the bloodstream. There are various types of tumors that have a preference for specific body parts, for example, circulating breast cancer cells mostly go to the bone roots, brain, and lungs. The basic methodology used for prognosis of these cells has been a very rudimentary one till date. A special technique that can detect the cells circulating tumor cells much before they go on to form new tumor colonies at distant sites enhance the chances of patient’s survival.
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