New Wearable Device that can Sample the User’s Blood to detect Cancer Cells

wearable device

Metastases of cancer are caused by circulating tumor cells. However, CTCs can also act as biomarkers for this very cancer. In most cases neoplasms, biopsies are a definitive alternative to diagnose cancer, though liquid biopsies where only blood sampling is performed can become an option with the help of these circulating tumor cells.

A wearable device that can continuously screen whole blood for CTCs and make those available for inspection by pathologists has now been developed by researchers at the University of Michigan.

Daniel F. Hayes, M.D., senior author of the study, in a statement said that the exciting part of their work is that they are working to get enough cancer cells from the blood, that could be used to learn about the tumor biology and direct care for the patients; relieving many from the distress of a biopsy.

Since CTCs are rather rare, capturing them is a challenging feat. The usual process involves a sample of blood and a highly sensitive device for the identification of CTCs in the chosen blood sample. In case of the new device developed by researchers at U of M however, the device is meant to stay with the patient over a period of time. This way, a lot more blood for sampling can be collected without any hassle.

What is important to understand here is that a sample taken at any given time might not correctly represent the required number of CTCs, as the tumor does not always release the same amount of CTCs. Thus with the new devices, the major drawback of accuracy with the older method can be avoided as the samples can be taken often which is an important requirement. The device has currently been tested on dogs.

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