We are developing a next generation system for CTC enrichment and characterization intended to help make personalized medicine a reality.
MENLO PARK, CA (PRWEB) August 03, 2016
Vortex Biosciences, provider of circulating tumor cell (CTC) enrichment systems, today announced the exclusive license of a series of four patents that cover a novel cell electroporation technology from Harvard University. Vortex will be combining the cell electroporation technology with their CTC enrichment technology to offer rapid CTC bioassays and other applications where CTC permeabilization would be valuable.
Vortex has introduced the VTX-1 earlier this year at the AACR. The VTX-1 is a fully automated benchtop system for collecting intact CTCs using microfluidic technology. Inside the VTX-1 chip, unlabeled CTCs in whole blood are trapped in microscale vortices while smaller red and white blood cells pass through. After selective trapping into the microfluidic chambers, CTCs can be flushed and collected into a variety of containers for downstream analysis. The novel electroporation technology leverages the microscale vortices of the Vortex technology to improve the efficiency of electroporation.
Cell electroporation is a technique in which an electrical field is applied to cells in order to increase the permeability of the cell membrane, allowing chemicals, drugs, proteins, or DNA to be introduced into the cell. Current technologies result in the electric field being applied with different intensity to different cells depending on their vicinity to the electric field resulting in variable cell permeability and cell damage. The novel approach licensed by Vortex leverages the microscale vortices created by the Vortex technology. Since the cells are orbiting through the electric field, the intensity applied to each cell is equivalent, resulting in more consistent electroporation without damaging the cells. The microscale vortices also serve to increase flow through the membrane pores created, resulting in improved uptake into the cells. Proof of concept studies with the cell electroporation technology have been completed demonstrating consistent electroporation without damaging the cells.
"We are developing a next generation system for CTC enrichment and characterization intended to help make personalized medicine a reality," said Gene Walther, Chief Executive Officer of Vortex Biosciences "The combination of our CTC enrichment technology and the electroporation technology developed at Harvard will lead to a powerful solution for characterizing CTCs and ultimately a better understanding how to treat a patient’s disease."
A single microfluidics chip that allows for both CTC enrichment and CTC electroporation opens up a number of potential applications. Simple bioassays like the insertion of an active enzyme substrate for detecting overexpressing or overactive enzymes or molecular beacon dyes that fluoresce upon DNA binding for detecting DNA mutations could be performed inside the Vortex VTX-1 chip. Another application under consideration is the immortalization of CTCs. Plasmids could be inserted that immortalize CTCs, resulting in CTCs that could be cultured to allow for different drug therapeutics to be evaluated.
Work related to this cell electroporation technology will be presented in a poster by Dr. Claire Hur at the upcoming invitation only “Rare Cells in Circulation” Gordon Research Conference August 7th – 12th.
The Vortex CTC isolation process is label-free and contact-free, keeping CTCs intact and viable. Samples processed by the VTX-1 minimize white blood cell contamination, resulting in a highly enriched CTC sample. This offers significant advantages for downstream analysis:
- Enrichment of the CTCs is not biased by the molecular characteristics of the CTCs resulting in CTCs representative of the patient’s cancer status.
- CTCs collected at higher purity increase the accuracy and sensitivity of downstream assays.
- CTCs are unaltered and undamaged by labels or reagents and easily collected, making them ideal for live cell assays and cell culture experiments
About Vortex Biosciences
Vortex Biosciences is a cancer research and diagnostics company that integrates cancer biology, microfluidic engineering and informatics to develop tools for isolating and characterizing circulating tumor cells. The Vortex VTX-1 instrument harvests intact circulating tumor cells from whole blood samples for use in downstream research and clinical applications such as patient stratification in clinical trials, monitoring disease progression and drug treatment effectiveness. With a mission to enable noninvasive diagnosis of cancer and real-time monitoring throughout a patient’s treatment, Vortex is at the forefront of accelerating cancer research and improving patient outcomes. Vortex is a core subsidiary of NetScientific plc, a transatlantic healthcare technology group with an investment strategy focused on sourcing, funding and commercializing technologies that significantly improve the health and well-being of people with chronic diseases. For more information, visit http://www.vortexbiosciences.com.