New technique identifies cellular 'needle in a haystack'

Jul 12, 2012

Rare cells can be identified within mixed cell populations with near perfect accuracy using a detection technique devised by research teams led by Robert Wieder, MD, PhD, at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School and Rajan Kumar, MD, PhD, at Genome Data Systems in Hamilton, N.J. This technique may facilitate cancer diagnosis, which often relies on the detection of rare cancerous cells in tiny amounts of biopsy tissue or fluid.

Wieder’s group previously described this approach, which employs microfluidics, in which cells expressing a specific surface protein are identified as they are pumped through a narrow fluid channel. The channel is coated with a binding partner for the protein of interest, slowing the progress of the cells of interest while allowing non-specific cells to pass through unhindered.

In the new study, published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Lab on a Chip, the group optimized the assay to allow the detection of rare breast cancer cells in a mixed population with 100% sensitivity and specificity and without prior manipulation. The process left the cells undamaged, making them available for additional microfluidic, cellular or molecular testing, including analysis of surface proteins known to affect prognosis or response to treatment in patients with cancer, infectious or inflammatory diseases or exposure to toxins.

Explore further: Detecting infection with a microchip

More information: Lab Chip. 2012 May 7;12(9):1646-55

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cellular 'glue' resists breast cancer

Apr 20, 2012

Early detection and advances in the treatment for breast cancer have improved the chances of survival, however new avenues for treatment are still needed in the battle against this disease. New research published in BioMed ...

Enhancing the effectiveness of a breast cancer treatment

Feb 13, 2012

Breast cancers expressing the protein HER2 have a particularly poor prognosis. Treatment with trastuzumab (Herceptin) benefits some patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, but it is not as effective as had been hoped. ...

Cellular origin of a rare form of breast cancer identified

Sep 22, 2011

Identifying the cellular origins of breast cancer might lead to earlier diagnosis and more efficient management of the disease. New research led by Charlotte Kuperwasser of Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) has determined ...

Absence of CLP protein can be indicative of oral cancer

Jan 07, 2009

Human calmodulin-like protein (CLP) is found in many cell types including breast, thyroid, prostate, kidney, and skin. The protein can regulate many cell activities and has a highly specific expression. Gaining an understanding ...

New technique creates cancer stem cells

Apr 09, 2008

With a bit of genetic trickery, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have turned normal skin cells into cancer stem cells, a step that will make these naturally rare cells easier to study.

Recommended for you

A greener source of polyester—cork trees

10 hours ago

On the scale of earth-friendly materials, you'd be hard pressed to find two that are farther apart than polyester (not at all) and cork (very). In an unexpected twist, however, scientists are figuring out ...

Breakthrough points to new drugs from nature

12 hours ago

Researchers at Griffith University's Eskitis Institute have developed a new technique for discovering natural compounds which could form the basis of novel therapeutic drugs.

World's first successful visualisation of key coenzyme

12 hours ago

Japanese researchers have successfully developed the world's first imaging method for visualising the behaviour of nicotine-adenine dinucleotide derivative (NAD(P)H), a key coenzyme, inside cells. This feat ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Breakthrough points to new drugs from nature

Researchers at Griffith University's Eskitis Institute have developed a new technique for discovering natural compounds which could form the basis of novel therapeutic drugs.

A greener source of polyester—cork trees

On the scale of earth-friendly materials, you'd be hard pressed to find two that are farther apart than polyester (not at all) and cork (very). In an unexpected twist, however, scientists are figuring out ...