Clinical OMICS

NOV-DEC 2018

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 26 of 51 November/December 2018 Clinical OMICs 25 ing on further developing the system." Currently, the com- pany is expanding the menu of assays that can be run on the CellSearch platform. It is also investing in the integration of CellSearch with DEPArray and Ampli1 technologies to deliver sample to result workflow which can provide molec- ular characterization of CTCs with single-cell resolution. "Clearly, evaluation of genomic biomarkers is a hot topic in liquid biopsy," Manaresi said. The workflow is intended to meet this need. While there is much work being done to achieve the potential of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) for molecular and other analysis, capturing and harvesting them without damaging the cells remains a challenge. One company that is developing a solution to this challenge is ANGLE plc. The company's Parsortix micro- fluidic system—for which is currently seeking FDA clearance—captures CTCs of all types. Unlike Cell- Search technology, which is based on the binding of epithelial cell adhesion molecules (EpCAM) and does not capture all CTCs because they don't express the necessary cell surface markers, the Parsortix design enables the capture and harvest of virtually all CTCs in a blood sample. The system utilizes a 10-mL sample of blood, which is passed through a Parsortix separation cassette. The user removes the top of the 10-mL tube of blood and attaches it to the Parsortix instrument, which then pushes the blood through a single-use cassette the size of a microscope slide. The larger, less compressible CTCs are gently held within the cassette, while the blood cells pass through the cassette to waste. Once the separation process is complete, the user can either automatically stain the captured cells with vari- ous antibodies within the cassette for examination, or they can instruct the system to harvest the cells out of the system for molecular and other analysis. "There are many things you can do with CTCs if you can get them out of a sample without damaging them," said Andrew Newland, ANGLE's founder and CEO. "Our sys- tem captures all of the different phenotypes of CTCs in the blood. The antibody-based systems don't capture the mes- enchymal cells which are the cause of secondary cancer." Several leading investigators are currently using Parsortix in their CTC research. Danila serves as a scientific advisor to ANGLE and uses the platform in his work. Goldkorn, and ANGLE customer, agrees CTCs are valuable for research. "There are many clinical trials aimed at developing robust and analytically validated assays to identify, enrich, an characterize CTCs." As to whether this work will result in better or complimentary information compared to that gath- ered form ctDNA, Goldkorn said, "The jury is still out." in healthy humans, is only found in placental cells—which, coin- cidentally, have some of the same invasive properties as cancer cells. In 2016, they showed that just about every type of cancer cell expresses ofCS. Unlike other CTC methods that seek to either characterize or enumerate CTCs, the malaria protein–based method described in the current study has the potential to allow physicians to screen for the existence of cancer—maybe even before a pa- tient shows symptoms. Salanti's group has shown that the rVAR2 binds pancreatic, hepatic, lung, and prostate CTCs. These cancers account for about 95% of all cancer cases. A spinout company, called VARCT Diagnostics, has been established to move this technology forward to a product that can be used in the clinics. — Camille Mojica Rey, Ph.D. Andrew Newland, founder and CEO, ANGLE plc Ali Salanti, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen, and his colleagues are developing a new method of CTC capture that employs a malaria protein called VAR2.

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