Verification of a Novel Minimally Invasive Device for the Isolation of Rare Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC) in Cancer Patients' Blood

Cancers (Basel). 2022 Sep 29;14(19):4753. doi: 10.3390/cancers14194753.


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) exist in low quantities in the bloodstream in the early stages of cancers. It, therefore, remains a technical challenge to isolate them in large enough quantities for a precise diagnosis and downstream analysis. We introduce the BMProbe™, a minimally invasive device that isolates CTCs during a 30-minute incubation in the median cubital vein. The optimized geometry of the device creates flow conditions for improved cell deposition. The CTCs are isolated using antibodies that are bound to the surface of the BMProbe™. In this study, flow experiments using cell culture cells were conducted. They indicate a 31 times greater cell binding efficiency of the BMProbe™ compared to a flat geometry. Further, the functionality of isolating CTCs from patient blood was verified in a small ex vivo study that compared the cell count from seven non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) patients compared to nine healthy controls with 10 mL blood samples. The median cell count was 1 in NSCLC patients and 0 in healthy controls. In conclusion, the BMProbe™ is a promising method to isolate CTCs in large quantities directly from the venous bloodstream without removing blood from a patient. The future step is to verify the functionality in vivo.

Keywords: cancer diagnosis; circulating tumor cells (CTCs); liquid biopsy; medical device; minimally invasive; non-small-cell lung carcinoma.