An alternative device to Biopsy for Cancer Patients

A wearable prototype device has been tested in animals and is able to collect continuously, the cancer cells from the patient’s blood. This device was developed for better diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients.

“Nobody wants to have a biopsy. If we could get enough cancer cells from the blood, we could use them to learn about the tumor biology and direct care for the patients. That’s the excitement of why we’re doing this,” explained Daniel F. Hayes.

Only in a few hours, this new device can capture the cancer cells from the vein directly.

“It’s the difference between having a security camera that takes a snapshot of a door every five minutes or takes a video. If an intruder enters between the snapshots, you wouldn’t know about it,” said an associate professor, Dr.  Sunitha Nagrath.

A research team examined this device in dogs first. Human cancer cells were injected into healthy adult dogs. They found out that the immune system of the dogs eliminated the cancer cells in only a few hours with no apparent lasting effects.

The dogs were provided with mild sedatives for the first 2 hours after the injection and screened 1-2% of their blood. Simultaneously, blood was dawn out of the dogs after every 20 minutes, and cancer cells from these samples were obtained by a chip of a similar design.

“The most challenging parts were integrating all of the components into a single device and then ensuring that the blood would not clot, that the cells would not clog up the chip, and that the entire device is completely sterile,” said Dr. Tae Hyun Kim.

The research team further hopes to increase the processing rate of the blood. They will then, under the supervision of Thamm, utilize the optimized system for obtaining cancer cells from the dogs.

“This is the epitome of precision medicine, which is so exciting in the field of oncology right now,” Hayes said.