A new microchip-based device that can discover and analyze circulating tumor cells, or CTCs, in a blood sample, could prove to be a valuable new tool for fighting cancer. CTCs, which originate in solid tumors, can be found in the bloodstream, but not too often. For every billion normal cells, you might only find one CTC.
Now scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital, reporting in the journal Nature, say they've developed a nanofluidics-based device that can monitor how a patient is responding to a given cancer treatment by studying these tiny indicator cells. The technology may also help with early detection.—Gregory Mone
(Image credit: MGH BioMEMS Resource Center)