Advancing Cancer Tracking with DiFC

Advance cancer tracking

A research team from Northeastern University and Dartmouth College have created a fascinating method for advanced cancer tracking known as “diffuse in vivo flow cytometry” (DiFC). It enables the noninvasive detection and counting of rare cancer cells in the bloodstream.

Tracking cancer spread in real-time

In a publication in the Journal of Biomedical Optics (JBO), The study team presented their novel two-color DiFC system, which can concurrently and in real-time identify two different populations of cancer cells in tiny animals. This development allows researchers to examine distinct subpopulations of cancer cells within the same animal, which leads to a deeper knowledge of cancer progression and therapy response.

Invasive techniques like taking blood samples were traditionally used to examine circulating tumour cells (CTCs), however, these methods frequently failed to identify uncommon CTCs or multicellular CTC clusters (CTCCs) with a high potential for metastatic spread. By using highly dispersed light to probe vast blood vessels, DiFC gets over these restrictions and enables noninvasive peripheral blood volume collection as well as the detection of uncommon cancer cells.

The researchers used tissue-mimicking flow phantoms and multiple myeloma-affected mice in studies to show off the adaptability of their two-color DiFC system. They observed the kinetics of cancer spread in real-time by distinguishing between cancer cells expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) and tdTomato with high accuracy.

Interestingly, single fluorescent proteins were present in most of the observed CTCCs, revealing information about the heterogeneity of cancer cell populations.

This technology has far-reaching possible effects. By keeping an eye on multiple subpopulations of cancer cells at once, researchers can learn a great deal about how tumors develop and react to treatments. This paves the path for more specialized and individualized treatment plans, which will ultimately help us defeat cancer.


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