One in a billion
iCellate Medical AB offers a service to identify circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from blood samples. In our lab, we perform CTC analyses with our proprietary isolation system IsoPic™ and related downstream verification tests.
CTC are rare, a few cells among tens of billions of normal blood cells, and therefore very hard to find. IsoPic™ uses conserved biomechanical properties to capture the CTCs from the blood and does not rely on conventional biomarkers that often miss some of the unpredictably variable cancer cells. iCellate’s technique has a very high sensitivity, IsoPic™ can find a CTC cell with a probability of 88 out of 100.
With iCellate’s technique in combination with genetic sequencing we can not only detect cancer at an early stage, but also ultimately pinpoint the exact molecular defects driving each patient’s individual cancer, and follow the molecular development of the disease, almost in real time.
In a typical clinical blood sample with 10 spiked tumor cells (MCF-7, HeLa or Sarcoma) among 10s of billions of normal blood cells, iCellate’s technique can identify 8,8 of those CTCs (88%). That is more than adequate to acquire a relevant sample to analyze the spreading cancer cells.
1 10 ml blood draw
2 CTC Isolation
3 LCM microscopy
4 Genetic sequencing
What is a circulating tumor cell (CTC)?
Cancer is a broad range of diseases that results in accumulation of abnormal cells (i.e. a tumor). Cancer originates from a single abnormal cell that grows into a primary tumor from which individual cells can spread through the lymphatic system or the blood stream to distant parts of the body and form metastases. The cells that spread the disease to distant organs, where they form metastases, are the circulating tumor cells.
Metastases are almost always associated with fatal disease. Cancer cells migrate into the lymphatic and blood circulation systems co-opting them as a transportation vehicle to ultimately metastasize to other parts of the body. Once in the blood, the vast majority of the circulating tumor cells actually die from natural causes, but a few survive. A few of those also attach at distant organs where they may exit the circulation and migrate further into the distant organ site where they may settle down. A fateful few of those dispersed cells may in turn start to grow to found new tumors, metastases. Knowing the numbers and genetic properties of the spreading tumor cells is key to predicting which ones will survive, attach and migrate, and also grow into metastases at distant organs.