Nanomaterial chip tracks cancerous cells through bloodstream

Sept. 30, 2013 at 3:03 PM
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ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Cells that help the spread of cancer throughout the body can be detected in early-stage cancer patients using a nanomaterial-based chip, U.S. scientists say.

The findings suggest that the isolation and recovery of these cells could better inform diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients, team lead Sunitha Nagrath of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor said Monday in a release.

Nagrath and colleagues developed a graphene, oxide-based chip that can capture rare circulating tumor cells detached from an existing tumor and could be carried in the bloodstream to other tissues, spreading cancer.

By using their nanoscale device, the researchers said they could, among other things, select and analyze cancerous cells for cancer-related biomarkers.

The team said it believes the biomarkers will offer insights into the character of the cancer and potentially influence how the disease is managed.

The findings were reported online this week in Nature Nanotechnology.

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