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Biomedical Optics & Medical Imaging

A blood test for cancer

Technology Review
3 January 2011

A microfluidics chip designed to capture cancer cells circulating in the blood is taking a step closer to clinical use, thanks to a new partnership between Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Veridex, a diagnostics company owned by Johnson and Johnson. According to a release from the company, the technology "will enable [circulating tumor cells] to be used both by oncologists as a diagnostic tool for personalizing patient care, as well as by researchers to accelerate and improve the process of drug discovery and development."

The prototype, developed by Mehmet Toner and collaborators at MGH, consists of a business-card-size silicon chip dotted with tens of thousands of microscopic posts. Each post is coated with a molecule that binds to a protein unique to cells from a specific type of tumor, such as breast, lung, or prostate cancer. As blood flows through the chip, tumor cells stick to the posts.

Full blog entry from Technology Review
Press release from Johnson and Johnson