The wearable device measures approximately 2 x 2.75 x 1 inches, with the cancer cell capture chip mounted at the top. The catheter that connects to the patient passes through the hole in the upper left corner. (Credit: Tae Hyun Kim)
WASHINGTON, April 1 (Xinhua) – Researchers have developed a wearable device that can collect live cancer cells directly from the blood of animals, according to a study published Monday.
The study published in the journal Nature Communications reported the prototype that can help doctors diagnose and treat cancer more effectively in the future.
"If we could get enough blood cancer cells, we could use them to learn about the biology of the tumor and take care of the patients directly," said lead author Daniel Hayes, a professor of breast cancer. research at the University of Michigan.
Although tumors can release more than 1,000 cancer cells into the bloodstream in a single minute, current methods of blood collection often fail to capture them, even in patients with advanced cancer.
The new device could continuously capture the cancer cells directly from the vein for several hours, tracking much larger volumes of blood, according to the study.
In animal tests, the chip that captures the cells of the wearable device has trapped 3.5 times more cancer cells per milliliter of blood than the samples collected by blood collection.
The device is so small it can be worn on the wrist and connected to an arm vein. The device can integrate all the components into a single device and then ensure that the blood does not clot and the cells will not clog the chip, and that the entire device is completely sterile, according to the study.
In addition, the device uses nanomaterial graphene oxide to create dense forests of antibody-tipped molecular chains, allowing it to trap more than 80% of the cancer cells in the whole blood flowing through it.
The researchers estimated that the device could start testing in humans in three to five years. It would be used to help optimize treatments for human cancers by allowing doctors to see if the cancer cells are producing the molecules that serve as targets for many new cancer drugs.