Microfluidics chips allow scientists to study circulating cancer cells and determine their vulnerabilities. By Emily Singer from MIT Technology Review In a new clinical trial for prostate cancer, scientists will capture rare tumor cells circulating in patients’ blood, analyze them using a specialized microchip, and use the results to try to predict how well the patient will respond to a drug. The trial reflects a new phase of personalized medicine for cancer, enabled by microfluidics technologies that can isolate scarce cancer cells and detect very small changes in gene expression.
by Megan Ogilvie & Joseph Hall The microchip technology, created by a pair of University of Toronto scientists, will be able to determine the severity of the tumours through a simple urine sample and produce quick diagnosis with no need for painful biopsies. Now heading into the engineering stage, a BlackBerry-sized device should be available for doctors’ use within two to three years and eventually could be tuned to detect a broad range of cancers and infectious ailments, the researchers say. “The goal would be to produce a result … while you’re sitting in the waiting room,” said engineering professor