Magnetic Wire Detects Cancer Cells in Flowing Blood

July 21, 2018  Source: The Verdict 129


Stanford University School of Medicine Researchers have developed a magnetic wire that catches tumor cells flowing in the bloodstream. The wire, inserted into a vein, captures even limited tumor cells, ushering in a new means to detect cancer early.

Unique magnetic nanoparticles, engineered with an antibody to attach to any tumor cells and draw them out from the bloodstream, are latched on to the wire.

In contrast to current cancer diagnosing techniques through blood, this magnetized wire is capable of identifying a larger number of cancer cells, thereby detecting cancer at early stages. Moreover, this new method is expected to help in evaluating treatment response in cancer patients.

 “It could be useful in any other disease in which there are cells or molecules of interest in the blood. For example, let’s say you’re checking for a bacterial infection, circulating tumour DNA or rare cells that are responsible for inflammation – in any of these scenarios, the wire and nanoparticles help to enrich the signal, and therefore detect the disease or infection,” said Stanford for Early Cancer Detection, Canary Center radiology chair and director , Sanjiv Gambhir .

The magnetic wire was tested in pigs by placing it in a vein near the pig’s ear, which is similar to human veins in the arm.

The wire extracted 10-80 times more cancerous cells than a 5ml blood sample. It was also compared to a commercial wire-based detection technique and was found to have captured 500 to 5,000 more cancer cells.

The team is now aiming to adapt the technique for humans, and also acquire sanction for the nanoparticles. They aspire to implement this technology to enhance cancer detection, diagnosis, treatment and evaluation of therapy.

By Ddu