A new ANGLE on biopsies
HOUSTON—Research conducted by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has found that a cell separation system offered by ANGLE offers clinically relevant results in harvesting breast cancer cells for further characterization. ANGLE’s lead product, Parsortix, is a liquid biopsy technology that allows the harvest of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) without the use of antibodies. The research indicates success in using Parsortix to perform advanced molecular analysis on breast cancer cells isolated from blood samples.
CTCs are cells that have shed into the lymph system from a primary tumor and are circulated around the body. These cells are critical biomarkers in understanding tumor progression and response to treatment.
Tissue biopsies are invasive procedures that are lacking in their ability to understand disease progression, metastatic risk and treatment effectiveness. The difficulty in repeated invasive biopsies can limit patient participation and significantly increase costs associated with disease monitoring. CTC analysis can serve as liquid biopsies, providing easier ongoing information about a patient’s disease status.
The Parsortix cell separation technology enables a simple blood test to capture targeted cells for investigation for molecular profiling and analysis. The system serves to aid in sophisticated cancer diagnostics and can help oncologists to personalize treatment of cancer informed by current and concurrent noninvasive testing.
“The unique feature of the ANGLE Parsortix system that sets it apart from many other existing and nascent technologies is that it captures CTC without antibodies. It relies on the size and deformability of CTC with the advantage of easy harvesting for subsequent downstream molecular characterization,” according to the MD Anderson Cancer Center poster presentation on the MD Anderson research.
Researchers at MD Anderson utilized the Parsortix liquid biopsy technology to isolate and capture breast cancer cells that were then introduced into healthy blood samples. Scientists then measured the expression of several genes, including ones related to breast cancer.
Data from the study indicated that cultured cells were sufficiently intact to enable molecular characterization. They implemented two different gene expression analysis methods, and were able to detect several gene transcripts at very high levels of sensitivity, in some cases with the detection limit being 50 cells or less.
“In addition, we observed a linear correlation between quantities of transcript of RNA detected and the number of cells being processed. Gene expression analysis is of increasing importance in the development of new clinical diagnostics, and these observations have positive potential use in liquid biopsy,” states the MD Anderson Cancer Center.
ANGLE hopes that this successful application of the Parsortix system will enhance its collaboration with world-class cancer centers to demonstrate key uses for the technology.
“Multiplexed gene expression analysis will be a very important approach in enabling new clinical diagnostic capability in oncology through liquid biopsy. But this is technically demanding, and the most leading-edge techniques will need to be applied with CTCs if liquid biopsy is to be robust and versatile. CTC analysis using array-based methods is an area of particular interest to us, and this research is an important step in proving their efficacy with our cell separation system, and in developing the required methodology. Coming as they do from the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center, these developments and conclusions are encouraging and exciting,” said ANGLE Chief Technology Officer Shane Booth.
Parsortix is also designed to be compatible with existing medtech analytical platforms and companion as a diagnostic to identify patients poised to benefit from particular drugs and monitoring their effectiveness. In addition to cancer cells, Parsortix technology has the potential for deployment for other clinically significant cell types in the future.