Stanford Researchers Develop Magnetic Wire that Increases Detection of Circulating Tumor Cells

If approved for use in humans, the magnetic wire (depicted in gray) would be inserted into a vein in the arm (in light pink) and attract floating cancer cells labeled with magnetic nanoparticles (light green and gray) that have come from the tumor (neon green).

July 16, 2018

In a study published online July 16 in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the Gambhir Lab has developed a technique to use a magnetized wire to attract circulating tumor cells (CTCs) labeled with magnetic nanoparticles. This technique, which has only been used in pigs so far, attracts from 10-80 times more tumor cells than current blood-based cancer-detection methods, making it a potent tool to catch the disease earlier. It can also serve a general strategy to sample the entire human blood volume and catch many different kinds of rare circulating blood biomarkers.