A more sensitive way to detect circulating tumor cells
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women, and metastasis from the breast to other areas of the body is the leading cause of death in these patients. Detecting circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the bloodstream could help doctors find and treat metastases at an earlier stage, increasing chances of survival. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Sensors have developed a method that could more sensitively detect CTCs within the complex environment of blood.
CTCs are tumor cells that are shed from a primary tumor into the bloodstream, where they can travel to other sites and possibly establish new tumors. Measuring CTCs could help doctors determine a patient’s prognosis and best course of treatment, but these tumor cells are very rare compared with other blood cells, making them difficult to detect. Although some technologies have been developed to identify CTCs in blood, they suffer from limited sensitivity and specificity. Therefore, Zai-Sheng Wu and colleagues wanted to find a way to boost a fluorescent signal for CTCs so that they could be more easily identified.
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