The comprehensive molecular analysis of tumor cells is an essential aspect in patient management to guide precision therapy. However, tissue biopsies to obtain tumor material are often challenging and failure rates of tissue-based next generation sequencing (NGS) remain at 14% even in highly specialized precision medicine centers.
Non-invasive blood-based testing methods such as plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA), have the potential to address this unmet need, but current assay detection rates are unsuccessful in up to 30% of advanced cancers and the failure rates in patients bearing lower-grade tumors are presumably even higher. Moreover, DNA-based analyses from plasma do not perform well in the detection of commonly occurring gene fusions due to the relatively low abundance of these DNA fragments in the blood.
To overcome these limitations, new diagnostic tools are needed to increase detection rates of the tumor-derived, actionable genetic alterations, including oncogenic fusions that are amenable to highly effective targeted therapies.
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs), being a source of tumor material, have the potential to address these questions, and can provide unique insights into in disease heterogeneity and overall disease status that may be missed by cfDNA analysis alone.
Recent improvements in CTC isolation techniques associated with improvement of molecular biology technologies make it possible to use this CTC material as a diagnostic/prognostic tool in oncology.
Screencell has developed a simple and disposable devices for CTC isolation. This technology is based on cell size, and uses specific porous membranes, allowing an optimal separation between CTCs and other blood cells. The device does not require any other equipment/machine. The blood passing through the membrane is aspirated by a disposable vacuum tube.
ScreenCell has developed 2 devices, one for cytology (cyto device), and the other for molecular biology and culture (MB device).