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A few circulating cancer cells could cue risk of metastases
Date:6/9/2014

St. Louis, Mo. (June 9, 2014) A simple noninvasive blood test matched with state-of-the-art molecular imaging of individual cells could help oncologists understand their patients' chances of survival, say researchers at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging's 2014 Annual Meeting.

Metastasis accounts for an estimated 90 percent of cancer deaths. For decades, researchers tried to develop a way to gauge a cancer's risk of metastasizing from a blood samplethe long-sought-after liquid biopsy. Today there are numerous methods available to isolate lone cells. Novel methods recently used to study those cells are radioluminescence microscopy, which combines nuclear medicine, optical imaging and single-cell autoradiography (SCAR), used to localize the micro-distribution of radioactive substances in a single cell in order to image a particular physiological process, such as a receptor expressing genetic information or an enzyme involved in cellular metabolism.

"We are now starting to study the properties of these lone cancer cells, which could be predictive of different disease states and that understanding could help guide therapy decisions," said Laura S. Sasportas, a principal researcher and PhD candidate in the Gambhir Lab in the department of bioengineering at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif. "The great potential of looking at circulating tumor cells (CTCs) has been limited mainly by their extreme rarity. For example, in the case of breast cancer, CTCs are estimated to be in the order of a few to a few hundred cells among billions of blood cells in a typical 7.5 milliliter blood sample from a cancer patient. In the past decade, however, CTC research has been booming due to the development of exciting new technologies that can sensitively detect and harvest those very rare cells from patient's blood."

For this study, researchers took breast cancer cells isolated from the blood of small animal models and imaged them u
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Contact: Kimberly Brown
kbrown@snmmi.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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