CytoCatch™: taking liquid biopsies from the laboratory to clinical practice
The 'liquid biopsy' approach based on the capture, enumeration, and characterization of CTCs is rapidly becoming a valuable tool in translational medicine. To enable a fast and easy adoption in the clinical setting, CytoCatch™ has fully automated the isolation, preparation, and analysis of the captured CTCs to prevent human error and cell loss due to the manual steps that must be performed.
Once the sample is processed, the tumoral cells are dyed with fluorescent antibodies to discriminate between the tumoral cells and the cellular components of blood. Later, an imaging system which possesses an artificial intelligence algorithm, automatically perform a classification of the fluorescent events and enumeration of the captured CTCs, based on their morphology and the expression of specific antigens.
All these procedures have been optimized in order to enable physicians to focus on the clinical relevant aspects of the disease, instead of the technology.
Cytocatch™ has been developed as a technology that could be easily taken to the clinical practice while being an extremely valuable research tool.
CytoCatch™ is capable of capturing CTCs subtypes that no longer express epithelial antigens
Most CTCs technologies, are based on sample enrichment methods that depend on specific antigen-antibody interactions. However, a fundamental problem of these approaches is the lack of a universal surface marker that is consistently expressed by CTCs. Typically these technologies, use EpCAM (epithelial cell adhesion molecule) antibodies to selectively trap cancer cells to a functionalized substrate. Nonetheless, CTCs intravasate into the bloodstream by undergoing a process known as the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), in which their epithelial phenotype is downregulated, including the expression of EpCAM antigens. This fact limits the capture of CTCs subpopulations with diminished expression of this specific surface marker, thereby losing valuable information. The principle of separation used by the CytoCatch is based on the differences in size and deformability between blood cells and CTCs, enabling the isolation of CTCs irrespective of the level of proteins expressed in their membranes, and allowing us to capture cells that other technologies can’t.