South Korean doctors develop method to detect cancer cells in blood without biopsy

A group of South Korean doctors led by Cho Young-koo at the National Cancer Center successfully detected and isolated circulating tumor cells (CTC) in blood samples of early-stage breast cancer patients. This discovery could lead to a broad range of practical clinical applications in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. CTCs have been recognized as promising biomarkers for diagnosis and indication of several cancers. However, CTC monitoring at present is available only for advanced-stage patients rather than for those in an early stage.

The Korean researchers developed a method using magnetic nanowires to aid in the efficient isolation and detection of CTCs in the blood of patients, especially those with early-stage cancers. The detection of CTCs will greatly help not only the early diagnosis of cancer but also in treatment, said Cho, adding that the technology involves just simply drawing blood from patients not a biopsy. Their findings were published in the latest edition of the journal Biomaterials.

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