Scientists have come up with a new way to identify and stop prostate cancer cells that break away from the original tumor site and enter the blood, leading to the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.
The new diagnostic technology, developed by specialists from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the University of California-Los Angeles, is uses a device they developed to identify and "grab" circulating tumor cells, or CTCs.
If more studies confirm the technology's effectiveness, the so-called NanoVelcro Chip device could help doctors to identify tumors in the bloodstream, providing a new way to diagnose the spread of cancer and possibly even design individually tailored treatments for patients.
The researchers have dubbed the technology a "liquid biopsy" that could revolutionize conventional biopsy practices and advance the emerging field of personalized medicine.
Traditional biopsies require the removal of tissue samples through a needle inserted into a solid tumor, a procedure that is invasive and sometimes painful. Biopsies are also difficult in metastatic prostate cancer because the disease often spreads to bone, where the availability of the tissue is low.
"We are optimistic that the use of our NanoVelcro CTC technology will revolutionize prostate cancer treatment. We know that cancers evolve over time and that every patient's cancer is a unique problem — the 'one-size-fits-all' approach is not going to allow us to cure prostate cancer or any other cancer," said Edwin M. Posadas, M.D., medical director of the Urologic Oncology Program at Cedars-Sinai's Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.
The study was published online in the journal Advanced Materials.
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