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European Partners Pursue Lab-on-a-Chip System for Identifying Pancreatic Cancer CTCs

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A consortium of European research institutions and private partners will use €5.3 million ($7.4 million) in funding to develop a microfluidics-based lab-on-a-chip device to identify and measure the concentration of circulating tumor cells in blood, one of the partners, Spain's IK4-IKERLAN, said today.

The goal of the Cancer Development Monitor (CANDO) project is to create a tool that can identify CTCs, which signify that cancer is metastasizing, much faster than current lab-based methods. It will be used to predict, classify, and monitor patients' pancreatic cancer status.

CANDO, which is receiving €4 million of its funding from the European Union, will be led by the University of Valencia. Along with IK4-IKERLAN, a private non-profit research center in the Basque region, it includes partners in Germany, Sweden, and Belgium.

The system the partners are developing will be able to amplify DNA and perform molecular analysis on blood samples in about five hours. In addition to speeding up pancreatic cancer diagnosis and treatment, IK4-IKERLAN said the technology will lower the costs of diagnosis and will be helpful in the development of targeted and less invasive therapies.

The collaborators plan to develop the device for marketing in Europe and the US, although no date has been set yet for when the test might make it to the market. They plan to publicize the system at meetings held by the European Society for Medical Oncology and other European and American oncology associations.

The CANDO consortium partners include four German partners, CTC isolation company Gilupi, the Institute of Photonic Technologies, Bayer, and Microfluidic Chipshop, Sweden's University of Stockholm, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and the IMEC research center in Belgium.