As the presence of tumor cells circulating in the blood is associated with shortened survival, a method to detect circulating tumor cells could help clinicians hoping to predict a patient's chances of survival and/or monitor a patient's response to treatment.
Now, Toshiyoshi Fujiwara and colleagues, at Okayama University Hospital, Japan, have developed a simple imaging system able to do just that. The research appears in the Sept. 1, 2009 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Specifically, they developed an approach to visualize live tumor cells circulating in the peripheral blood of humans and found that the number of live circulating tumor cells reflected the tumor burden, as they decreased in number upon complete surgical removal of primary tumors.
The authors therefore hope that their technology will prove to be of immense clinical benefit.
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