Metal Tags Used to Track Breakaway Cancer Cells ‘Just the Beginning’ of Better Detection, Researchers Say

Metal Tags Used to Track Breakaway Cancer Cells ‘Just the Beginning’ of Better Detection, Researchers Say
Metal tags enabled identification of cancer cells in a patient with metastatic prostate cancer, according to a study that suggests the method could provide new understanding of how cancer spreads and help define personalized treatments. Using blood and bone marrow samples from the patient, researchers from the Bridge Institute at the University of Southern California (USC) applied metal-tagged antibodies targeting potential protein biomarkers, a technique called mass cytometry. This approach led to digital facsimiles of tumor cells that travel through the body. "That is exactly what is happening when the TSA [Transportation Security Administration] swipes your hands," Peter Kuhn, PhD, the study’s senior author and a professor of biological sciences at USC, said in a press release. "They are looking for metals, which are really easy to identify." The research, “Multiplex protein detection on circulating tumor cells from liquid biopsies using imaging mass cytometry,” was published in the journal Convergent Science Physical Oncology. Investigators aimed to obtain an improved blueprint for the spread of the tumor, which is an advanced stage in cancer with challenging treatment options. Circulating tumor cells break away from the original tumor and may infiltrate into organs or bones, where they metastasize. "We are trying to understand how ca
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