Updated on 9 November 2016
The John Wayne Cancer Institute (JWCI) at the St. Johns Health Center, Providence Health Systems in Santa Monica California and Singapore-based Clearbridge BioMedics announced a research partnership to establish a Circulating Tumor Cell Center of Research Excellence (CTC CoRE). This new center builds upon JWCI's pioneering experience in CTC assessment in patients and Clearbridge BioMedics' expertise in isolating CTCs. Targeted to be set up by November 2016, the initial focus of the CTC CoRE is on melanoma, followed by epithelial cancers. JWCI envision that in the future, the center will evolve into a CLIA1 service for testing blood biopsy samples, with the objective of supporting diagnosis, treatment monitoring, and developing personalized therapies.
This CTC CoRE leverages on JWCI's molecular CTC assay development expertise from rare cells and Clearbridge Biomedics' ClearCell FX System for unbiased, labelfree enrichment of CTCs. The research carried out at the CTC CoRE aims to use defined tumor-related DNA and RNA biomarkers established at JWCI to assess patient status before and after therapy, for example, at the time of tumor resection, before and after use of specific therapeutic drugs, or for general follow-up. This may aid clinicians to monitor tumor progression and patients' response to treatment.
Work carried out at this new CTC CoRE is expected to lead to validation of several assays for use under JWCI's future CLIA program, beginning with melanoma, and followed by epithelial solid tumor cancers. This is expected to eventually result in better decision-making and significant cost savings. The program allows for unbiased and label-free isolation of CTCs in a robust and reproducible manner compatible with multiple types of downstream assays used for clinical oncology translational studies.
The ClearCell FX System is one of the world's first automated CTC retrieval systems, powered by the patented CTChip FR1 inertial microfluidics biochip. Using a label-free approach, the ClearCell FX System retrieves wholly-intact and viable CTCs from a standard blood draw. The ClearCell FX System provides cost-effective retrieval of CTCs proven to work with applications used in research and the clinic, such as Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), PCR, Fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH) and Immunofluorescence staining.
"This partnership is an expansion of our long-standing collaboration with Clearbridge BioMedics. We originally began working with them in 2011, to validate the ClearCell FX System, and we are delighted to be setting up a new CTC Core with Clearbridge BioMedics to advance the development of our assays. We hope to be able to transform this center into a CLIA service in early 2018," said Professor Dave SB Hoon, Director, Dept. Translational Molecular Medicine, JWCI.
"We are honored to partner with JWCI, a leading research and treatment cancer institute. This is the second CTC CoRE that Clearbridge BioMedics has set up - the first being with the National Cancer Centre Singapore and Singapore General Hospital in 2014. Clearbridge BioMedics will continue working towards validation of clinical utility of our ClearCell FX System, to help oncologists have access to better tools to diagnose, treat and manage cancer," said Dr Michael Paumen, CEO Clearbridge BioMedics.