Novel probe for in vivo isolation of circulating tumor cells for the diagnosis and follow-up of cancer

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Background

The number of documented cancer cases is increasing worldwide. According to this study, one in five men and one in six women worldwide will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. Every eighth man and every eleventh woman dies of cancer. The number of cancer-related deaths in 2018 is estimated at 9.6 million worldwide. To diagnose or rule out cancer, a tissue sample is usually taken (biopsy) and histologically examined. In recent years, a new method of analysis has been developed: Liquid Biopsy, a blood-based technique for the detection of tumors or tumor cells and tumor DNA in the blood. Practically all tumors release circulating tumor cells into the bloodstream. These are therefore theoretically always available for detection. Circulating tumor cells are a new, reliable biomarker associated with cancer. These cells are important indicators of pathological processes in the body and can therefore be used for the diagnosis and/or follow-up of various forms of cancer. However, the circulating tumor cells occur in the patient's blood in extremely low concentrations throughout and are therefore difficult to detect.

Aims

The aim of the project is to research a probe that enables the in vivo detection of circulating tumor cells (CTC) directly from the patient's bloodstream. In particular, a method is to be researched with which circulating tumor cells can be detected in sufficient numbers for a diagnosis. The problem of the lack of sensitivity of existing diagnostic systems will be solved in this project, as this considerably limits the clinical benefit. The availability of such a diagnostic method would significantly increase the chances of survival and the quality of life of patients with cancer. In addition, the success of the therapy would become visible earlier than before. As a result, the therapeutic agents used can be controlled more efficiently.

Cooperation partners

Funding

This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).