Updated on 2 May 2012
Mr Johnson Chen, Clearbridge BioMedics
Early detection, complete cure and curbing relapse are big challenges in cancer therapy. Many biotechnology companies have made huge investments in terms of money and time to device ways in order to control the spread of the disease.
Circulating tumour cell microfiltration system is one such solution developed to capture, count and most importantly, retrieve rare viable circulating tumour cells directly from the blood. Developed by Singapore-based Clearbridge Biomedics, the technology exploits biomechanical and size differences of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) and blood cells to isolate and later retrieve these rare cells. The company has developed a breakthrough non-biomarker solution that enables rapid cancer detection and allows targeted cancer treatment.
Leveraging on a microfluidics technology licensed from National University of Singapore, the ClearCell System comprises patent-pending microfluidic CTChips, which can effectively detect and isolate wholly-intact CTCs from small quantities of patient blood samples.
CTCs are extremely rare cells that detach from a primary tumor and circulate in the bloodstream. Capturing and counting them to conduct cancer diagnostics, screen and do post-cancer monitoring allow clinicians to make timely and life-saving decisions.
One of the problems with the current CTC systems is that they are expensive and rely on the use of bio-markers to bind the cells. However, not all CTCs express these bio-markers. Moreover, expression of biomarkers can be down-regulated during disease progression. Consequently, CTCs may be missed or the estimated numbers could be inaccurate.