Topic: Damon Runyon Research Foundation, April Scientist of the month

April Scientist of the Month: Dr. Daniel Haber
Finding One Cancer Cell in a Billion

Talk about finding a needle in a haystack - how about finding one cancer cell in a billion?

That is exactly what a new technology the size of a business card can do.A research team led by NFCR Scientist, Dr. Daniel Haber, at Massachusetts General Hospital, has found a way to detect cancer cells in the blood with a tiny device, called a CTC Chip.

The CTC Chip (CTC stands for "Circulating Tumor Cells") has 78,000 microscopic columns that trap rare cancer cells with a glue-like substance. Using a spoonful of blood, a physician can determine not only if the patient has cancer, but also which treatments might be most effective for the particular type of cancer. After capturing the cancer cell, the CTC Chip takes a "genetic fingerprint" of the cancer. Then, the most effective drug for that particular type of cancer can be custom-fitted for treatment.

The CTC Chip, though still in developmental stages, is being heralded as a huge improvement over standard biopsies and CAT scans to track the progress of a cancer. Oftentimes, standard scans may take months to show whether a tumor is growing-time a patient frequently cannot afford. While there is still much work to be done, the CTC Chip can drastically speed up the process, revolutionizing cancer care.

While the existence of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) has been known for roughly 140 years, CTCs have eluded researchers because they are so rare-as few as 10 may be lurking in one milliliter of blood, among eight billion normal cells-and because there has not been technology sensitive enough to efficiently capture them-until now.

"The big hope is that we may be able to find the cancer cells that are capable of spreading from the primary tumor to distant sites," says Dr. Haber. "This would allow physicians to detect invasive cancers early, follow how well cancers are responding to treatments in

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

2 (edited by Linda Z Wed, 14 Apr 2010 12:50:34)

Re: Damon Runyon Research Foundation, April Scientist of the month

Wouldn't this be absolutely WONDERFUL to be able to use RIGHT NOW!!!  No more waiting and waiting to have another PET scan or CT to see what is happening with treatment.  Early detection on recurrences before metastasizing....the thoughts are endless. 

Hurry up and make it available to all of us here, please!

Thank you so much for the info.

Linda Z.

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
it's about learning how to dance in the rain."

Re: Damon Runyon Research Foundation, April Scientist of the month

I am with you, Linda.  We need it "NOW".
Take care,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER