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Vortex Previews Fully Automated System for Label-Free, Intact CTC Enrichment
Product News

Vortex Previews Fully Automated System for Label-Free, Intact CTC Enrichment

Vortex Previews Fully Automated System for Label-Free, Intact CTC Enrichment
Product News

Vortex Previews Fully Automated System for Label-Free, Intact CTC Enrichment

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Vortex Biosciences previewed the VTX-1, a fully automated system for the efficient enrichment of intact circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from whole blood, at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2016 (April 16–20, New Orleans). Data presented at AACR demonstrate the ability of Vortex’s technology to rapidly collect highly enriched populations of CTCs, undamaged by labels or reagents, for colorectal and prostate cancer research. 

Representative of cancer status in the patient, CTCs, shed by tumors, can potentially reveal disease recurrence or disease progression earlier than imaging and more reliably compared with standard biomarkers. Previous research demonstrated the performance of Vortex’s technology in isolating CTCs in breast and lung cancer research.1

“As we move towards commercialization of the VTX-1 system, the studies presented at AACR confirm the ability of Vortex’s technology to isolate viable CTCs for a broad range of downstream assays,” explained Vortex CEO Gene Walther. “Empowering cancer researchers with a rapid, reliable and convenient solution to collect CTCs could advance cancer research and accelerate the development of innovative diagnostics and therapeutics.”

CTC Isolation

CTCs are relatively scarce, with concentrations as low as 1–10 CTCs/mL of whole blood, against a background of millions of white blood cells and billions of red blood cells. CTC enrichment technologies have been limited by complex sample processing, poor scalability, low sample purity, reliance on cell surface proteins for isolation, and dilute output volumes that require additional cell concentration steps.1

The Vortex VTX-1 system is a fully automated benchtop system for collecting intact CTCs using microfluidic technology. Inside the VTX-1 chip, unlabeled CTCs in whole blood are trapped in microscale vortices while smaller red and white blood cells pass through. After selective trapping into the microfluidic chambers, CTCs can be flushed and collected into a variety of containers for downstream analysis.

Studies at AACR

CTCs were isolated from colorectal cancer (CRC) patient blood samples using Vortex’s microfluidic technology in Enumeration and mutational profiling of CTCs, and comparison to ctDNA and colorectal cancer liver metastases2 (poster #3149, to be presented 8 a.m.–12 p.m., Tuesday, April 19). In this study, nearly 25-fold more CTCs were found in preoperatively collected CRC patient samples than in age-matched healthy controls, and 80% of all CRC samples were identified as positive for CTCs. The number of CTCs for each patient showed a close correlation with clinical parameters and circulating tumor DNA levels. Compared with carcinoembryonic antigen value (the standard biomarker for CRC) or imaging, CTCs and CTC mutational profiles provided earlier indicators of minimal residual disease and anticipated tumor recurrence.

Another study, Label free collection of prostate circulating tumor cells using microfluidic Vortex technology (poster #4967, to be presented 8 a.m.–12 p.m., Wednesday, April 20), demonstrates the ability of Vortex’s technology to rapidly collect pure populations of CTCs from blood samples in metastatic prostate cancer. 

In a third study, Vortex technology for label-free enrichment of CTC from mouse xenograft models4 (poster #1525, to be presented 8 a.m.–12 p.m., Monday, April 18) investigators used Vortex’s technology to isolate CTCs from mouse blood. The investigators observed both high capture efficiency and high CTC purity, suggesting that the technology can be applied in mouse studies to facilitate discovery of new therapeutic targets and development of personalized medicine.

“These studies illustrate the potential of Vortex’s microfluidic technology to help cancer researchers advance detection of cancer disease recurrence and progression earlier and more reliably compared with standard approaches,” explained investigator Dr. Dino Di Carlo, Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at UCLA, where he directs the Microfluidic Biotechnology Laboratory.