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Fox Chase Cancer Center Adopts Silicon Bio's DEPArray Platform for Cancer Studies

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Fox Chase Cancer Center will use Silicon Biosystems' DEPArray platform to study cancer, the company announced this week.

The Philadelphia-based center will integrate Silicon Bio's platform into existing research programs for studying circulating tumor cells, their role in metastatic cancers, and their clinical applicability.

"Having the capability to obtain molecular characterizations from pure single cells will enable us to better understand the underlying genomic heterogeneity of cancers," said Massimo Cristofanilli, chairman of the department of medical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Cristofanilli said in a statement that the DEPArray platform may allow the center's researchers to "identify and measure specific biomarkers with the potential for therapeutic targeting and monitoring of CTCs," increasing its capability to "impact patients' quality of life and survival."

Silicon Bio's technology relies on dielectrophoresis, or DEP, to isolate and manipulate cells in a suspension matrix, which offers users the ability to control cells and microparticles inside a disposable cartridge. The firm's cell microarrays consist of a microelectronic-active silicon substrate containing control circuitry for addressing each individual dielectrophoretic cage. According to the firm, DEP cage sizes can be set to accommodate one single cell, enabling the individual to manipulate a large number of cells per array.

Based in Bologna, Italy, Silicon Bio last year established a US office in San Diego (BAN 12/14/2010). Bob Proulx, president and general manager of the company's US division, said the deal with Fox Chase Cancer Center is a "great opportunity for our US business."

Proulx said in a statement that the Italian firm has been "seeing a lot of interest in the clinical research sector because of what our technology can do." Proulx told BioArray News last year that the company was seeking to "identify key opinion leaders and leading researchers working in areas of single-cell analysis" that could benefit from the DEPArray platform.

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