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Analyzing Cancer Cells to Choose Treatments

Microfluidics chips allow scientists to study circulating cancer cells and determine their vulnerabilities. By Emily Singer         from   MIT Technology Review In a new clinical trial for prostate cancer, scientists will capture rare tumor cells circulating in patients’ blood, analyze them using a specialized microchip, and use the results to try to predict how well the patient will respond to a drug. The trial reflects a new phase of personalized medicine for cancer, enabled by microfluidics technologies that can isolate scarce cancer cells and detect very small changes in gene expression.

Microchip spots cancer quickly and painlessly

by Megan Ogilvie & Joseph Hall The microchip technology, created by a pair of University of Toronto scientists, will be able to determine the severity of the tumours through a simple urine sample and produce quick diagnosis with no need for painful biopsies. Now heading into the engineering stage, a BlackBerry-sized device should be available for doctors’ use within two to three years and eventually could be tuned to detect a broad range of cancers and infectious ailments, the researchers say. “The goal would be to produce a result … while you’re sitting in the waiting room,” said engineering professor …

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