Chinese Academy of Sciences and Peking University Third Hospital has developed a new type of sensor that acts like Velcro for prostate cancer cells, sticking them to a modified frosted glass slide, like those used in science classes, so that they can be identified from blood samples. According to the researchers, the low-cost method could help doctors better diagnose and monitor the disease.
In men with prostate cancer, some tumor cells exit the prostate gland and circulate in the blood. Detecting these cells could enable diagnosis at an earlier stage or help doctors assess whether treatment is effective. However, because circulating tumor cells are present in very small numbers, finding them can be a challenge.
When the researchers tested blood samples from prostate cancer patients, the device detected as few as 10 tumor cells in 1 milliliter of blood.