Vortex Biosciences Announces Publication in Nature Scientific Reports Describing Novel Label-Free Circulating Tumor Cell Capture and Enumeration Technology

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Next Generation Circulating Tumor Cell Capture and Enumeration Technology and Its Use In Cancer Research Is Described

As described in this publication, the combination of our CTC capture technology with downstream analytical techniques provides tremendous power to cancer researchers and clinicians.

Vortex Biosciences, provider of circulating tumor cell (CTC) capture systems, today announced the publication of “Label-free enumeration, collection and downstream cytological and cytogenetic analysis of circulating tumor cells” in Nature Scientific Reports on October 14th, 2016. The peer reviewed publication describes the Vortex Biosciences microfluidic device that can selectively isolate CTCs directly from whole blood independent of cell surface expression. The paper further describes how the system was adapted to interface with three analysis techniques: (i) an in-flow automated image processing platform to enumerate cells released, (ii) cytological analysis using Papanicolaou (Pap) staining and (iii) fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) targeting the ALK rearrangement.

The Vortex Bioscience technology captures unlabeled CTCs in whole blood by trapping the cells in microscale vortices while smaller red and white blood cells pass through. After selective trapping of the CTCs in microfluidic chambers, CTCs are flushed and collected into a variety of containers for downstream analysis. In this publication, 32 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and 22 breast cancer patient samples were analyzed with the Vortex Bioscience’s technology, yielding 60 to 100% of the cancer patients with a CTC count over the healthy threshold, depending on the detection method used: respectively 77.8% for automated label-free enumeration, 60–100% for cytology, and 80% for immunostaining based enumeration.

"We are developing a next generation system for CTC capture and characterization intended to help make personalized medicine a reality," said Gene Walther, Chief Executive Officer of Vortex Biosciences. "As described in this publication, the combination of our CTC capture technology with downstream analytical techniques provides tremendous power to cancer researchers and clinicians.”

CTCs are rare cells, with concentrations as low as 1–10 CTCs/mL of whole blood. Combining the Vortex Biosciences CTC capture technology with in-flow counting allows the clinician or scientist to confirm sufficient quantities of CTCs in the sample before moving forward with standard downstream assays such as cytological, cytogenetic or genomic analyses that are time consuming and/or costly. This paper demonstrates the power of an integrated system that can both enrich and provide an initial cancer cell label-free enumeration.

This paper also demonstrates that CTCs isolated by the Vortex Bioscience’s technology are intact and unchanged by the enrichment process. Furthermore, the CTCs collected using the Vortex system can be analyzed by existing analytical workflows typically used for tumor biopsies.

  •     Papanicolaou (Pap) staining: Cytology staining such as the Papanicolaou (Pap) stain is a reliable and routinely used test for cancer diagnosis in human cytology. The advantage of the Pap stain lies in its ability to yield detailed information on nucleoli and chromatinic patterns of cells. This information is often sufficient to determine whether cells are benign or malignant. This paper shows that the cytological analysis of CTCs collected by the Vortex technology shares striking cytomorphological features with malignant cells from other bodily fluids such as pleural fluid but also fine needle aspirate and core needle biopsy.
  •     FISH: FISH is a gold standard diagnostic test used in the clinic for the detection of genetic aberrations including rearrangements (translocations, inversions), and changes in gene copy number (duplications, deletions) associated with cancer. Cytogenetic analysis of CTCs would help with understanding of tumor heterogeneity, genomic diversity of metastatic disease, and underlying oncogenic alterations. This paper shows that detecting of ALK translocations in cells directly isolated from the blood of an ALK-positive patient not only confirms the malignant nature of the isolated cells, but also supports the compatibility of the Vortex Bioscience’s technology with commercially available FDA-approved FISH assays.

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.

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