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RareCyte Signs Research Collaboration Agreement With NCI

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Liquid biopsy tools developer RareCyte announced today that it has signed a three-year cooperative research and development agreement with the National Cancer Institute.

The partners will investigate how well RareCyte's technology can identify, characterize, capture, and analyze rare immune cell populations — such as natural killer T cells and antigen-specific conventional T cells — and individual circulating tumor cells in samples from NCI preclinical and clinical studies.

RareCyte's technology consists of an integrated rare cell separation, identification, and retrieval platform, which includes the AccuCyte blood separation system for collection of the nucleated cell fraction of a blood draw containing leukocytes and CTCs, and high-resolution microscopic scanning with the CyteFinder instrument, the company said. The method has a recovery rate greater than 90 percent and can detect a single cancer cell in a tube of blood containing 40 million to 50 million leukocytes, RareCyte added.

The collaborators also aim to develop assays that could help determine a patient's response to immunotherapy and the extent of a cancer's progression.

"With advances in cancer immunotherapy, a significant challenge remains in identifying immunologic responses that correlate with beneficial clinical outcomes," Eric Kaldjian, chief medical officer of RareCyte and principal investigator for the NCI collaboration, said in a statement. "The ability to characterize the immune response is an important aspect of personalized approaches for patients undergoing cancer immunotherapy. We believe that RareCyte's technology makes this possible."

The company signed a deal with Danaher's Leica Biosystems in October 2015 to co-market its AccuCyte CyteFinder rare cell analysis system with Leica's Bond RX research staining platform.