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Fluxion Bioscience, UTHealth Collaborate on Liquid Biopsy Development

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Fluxion Biosciences announced today that it is collaborating with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, or UTHealth, to develop novel liquid biopsy approaches to diagnose, monitor, and treat cancer patients.

The collaboration focuses around work being done in the laboratory of Roberto Amato, a professor and director of oncology at UTHealth Medical School. His lab is utilizing Fluxion's IsoFlux System to isolate, recover, and analyze rare circulating tumor cells (CTCs) at the molecular level.

"Cancer is a dynamic disease, and the ability to track changes in each patient via a blood sample can allow actionable changes to be detected much earlier," Amato said in a statement. 

"We have already shown the ability to detect cancer in its early stages, and to measure tumor heterogeneity through single-cell analysis," he added. "The use of intact, live cells also offers the ability to measure gene and protein expression, and directly enables the use of mouse models for pharmacodynamic testing."

Studying CTCs is a way to provide frequent, minimally invasive access to cancer tissue via a blood draw, and helps alleviate the problem with limited access to cancer tissue. The IsoFlux system efficiently recovers high-purity CTCs for use in highly multiplexed analyses, such as next-generation sequencing for cancer mutational profiling, the company said in a statement. 

Initially, the collaboration will focus on prostate, kidney, and bladder cancer. "One aim of the collaboration is to identify markers that can help stratify patients requiring more aggressive treatment from those that don't. This is currently a major challenge in the treatment of prostate cancer," Amato said.

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