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Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC)

Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) analysis is a promising new diagnostic field for cancer patients towards the estimation of risk for metastatic relapse or metastatic progression. Different analytical systems for CTCs isolation and detection have been developed most including separation steps by size or biological characteristics such as expression of epithelial or cancer-specific markers. Recent technical advancements in CTC detection and characterization include multiplex RT-qPCR based methods, image-based approaches and microfilter and microchip devices. New areas of research are directed toward developing novel sensitive assays for CTC molecular characterization. Quality control is an important issue for the clinical use of CTC analysis, and standardization of micrometastatic cell detection and characterization methodologies is important for the incorporation of CTCs into prospective clinical trials testing their clinical utility. The molecular characterization of CTC can provide important information on the molecular and biologic nature of these cells such as the status of hormone receptors, epidermal, and other growth factor receptor family members and indications of stem-cell characteristics. This is very important for the identification of therapeutic targets and resistance mechanisms in CTCs as well as for the stratification of patients and real-time monitoring of systemic therapies.

 

ACTC lab main interests

Our lab is specializing on the development, analytical validation and clinical evaluation of molecular assays for the detection, enumeration and molecular characterization of CTCs.