Massachusetts General Hospital doctors have come up with a new blood-testing method to detect recurrent cancer in the early stage. Using a tiny microchip-based device that captures and characterizes CTCs, solid tumor cells, in the small samples of patients' blood. The CTC-chip, is about the size of a business card and holds 80,000 microscopic posts coated with an antibody that attracts tumor cells circulating in the blood, can then be analyzed. In clinical studies, CTCs has been approved to detect metastatic cancers of breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers.
In the near future, scientists hope to use the test on cancer patients to more accurately see how the disease has progressed, and precisely customize treatment, and then the next step is to screen healthy patients at routine examinations, allowing clinicians to catch cancer much earlier.