New Blood Test That Counts Circulating Tumor Cells To Be Developed
Using next-generation Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) technology to capture, count and characterize circulating tumor cells in patients' blood, Johnson and Johnson and Massachusetts General Hospital hope to equip doctors with a more advanced non-invasive way to find out from a few cells how much a cancer has spread, personalize treatment for patients, and monitor their progress.
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are cells that have come away from a primary tumor, are circulating in the bloodstream, and have the potential to seed secondary tumors in another part of the body.
American Cancer Society's Dr. J. Leonard Lichtenfeld has put this in proper perspective. He reminds us on his cancer blog, "there is always a caution that comes along with these types of announcements."
First, and perhaps the most obvious, is the fact that this is an announcement of a research deal. Nothing more, nothing less. It is not a new breakthrough. It is not something that has been proven effective in improving cancer detection and treatment.
Not that it is anything less than stunning to develop and demonstrate that this technology works, but as with all research it is a giant step to go successfully from the laboratory phase of development to the clinical phase of making a real difference in patients' lives.
Researchers have signed a contract with a company to further develop this research and determine whether in fact it can be applied successfully to large numbers of patients in a more efficient and less expensive manner.
He reiterated that it is also important to remember that there are many researchers who have been working on other techniques to accomplish the same goal, some for many years.