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Scoop Up Cancer Cells for Analysis

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a microfluidics chip that captures rare cancer cells in numbers that are high enough to enable analysis for molecular markers, reports Technology Review's Emily Singer. The device could save patients the hassle and pain of tumor biopsies since a sufficient number of cells could be culled from the bloodstream, and doctors could pick better drugs for their patients by doing the molecular marker analysis, she adds. The device itself has a "herringbone design which generates a vortex in the blood flowing through it," Singer says. "This mixing brings the cells in greater contact with antibodies on the surface of the chip. These antibodies bind to molecules specific to cancer cells."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.