28 May 2014
New cancer diagnostic device
Commercial launch of a new system to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment
This week sees the commercial launch of a new cancer diagnostic device developed by Clearbridge BioMedics in partnership with product development firm Cambridge Consultants. The ClearCell® FX System is able to isolate and capture circulating tumour cells (CTCs) from a blood sample – even at concentrations as low as one in a billion blood cells. This is crucial for both research and clinical purposes, as CTCs play a significant role in metastasis – the main cause of cancer-related deaths.
Cambridge Consultants helped to translate Singapore-based Clearbridge Biomedics’ design into a commercial prototype. “This commercial launch of the ClearCell® FX System marks a new milestone in the project after a successful transfer from design and development to manufacturing,” said John Pritchard, head of diagnostics at Cambridge Consultants.
“It’s the latest example of our expertise in the design and development of diagnostic instrumentation, coupled with our long track record of helping clients bring innovative products to market fast. In this case it has helped create a device that has the potential to increase understanding of cancer – and, ultimately, improve patient care.”
The ClearCell® FX System uses biomechanical properties to isolate intact, viable CTCs, making it label free – ie without biochemical markers. The fully-automated system integrates with downstream assays – making it simple to use and saving both time and manpower. The device is highly sensitive and enables researchers to achieve reproducible results. It is designed to help cancer researchers better study CTCs and cancer metastasis biology – and potentially develop new cancer treatments.
With the ClearCell® FX System, a simple blood test could provide clinicians and researchers with real-time monitoring of a patient’s cancer progression. This is critical as cancers are complex, heterogenous and constantly evolving with each treatment and over time.
“At Clearbridge BioMedics we aim to bring clarity to cancer, by allowing each and every patient to benefit from timely, tailored treatment,” said Johnson Chen, managing director of Clearbridge BioMedics. “Real-time monitoring of a patient’s CTCs allows clinicians to develop the best treatment at the right time. By matching treatments to the patient, they benefit from optimal treatment outcomes, with fewer negative side effects and lower costs.”
The ClearCell® FX System is already being used by the Circulating Tumour Cell Centre of Research Excellence (CTC CoRE) – a collaboration between Clearbridge BioMedics, the National Cancer Centre Singapore and the pathology department at Singapore General Hospital.
"The ClearCell® FX System allows us to reproducibly retrieve CTCs from a routine blood test, opening up new possibilities for applying molecular diagnostic tests that have become crucial in managing cancer patients,” said Dr Daniel Tan, consultant, Division of Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Centre Singapore.
“Beyond improving patient stratification, such minimally invasive tools provide unique vistas into studying the characteristics of cancer cells in circulation. It is anticipated that the CTC CoRE will bring together state-of-the-art microfluidic technologies, next-generation molecular diagnostics and cutting-edge clinical science – ultimately to improve cancer care.”
The ClearCell® FX System will be showcased at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), May 30 to June 3, in Chicago.
Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology-critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of more than 700 staff, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA) and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, digital health, oil and gas, and wireless communications.
Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, a global leader in engineering and R&D services which offers its clients a new way to innovate. Altran works alongside its clients on every link in the value chain of their project, from conception to industrialisation. In 2015, the Altran group generated revenues of €1.945bn. With a headcount of more than 27,000 employees, Altran is present in more than 20 countries. For more information, visit www.altran.com.
Clearbridge BioMedics specialises in novel platforms with applications in oncology research and diagnostics. It is a National University of Singapore spin-off company that is committed to developing medical devices which will impact the world and revolutionise cancer diagnostics and patient care by leveraging groundbreaking technology from research partners.
The ClearCell™ System comprises patent-pending CTChips®, which are microfluidic biochips able to effectively detect, isolate and retrieve wholly-intact circulating tumour cells (CTCs) from small quantities of patient blood samples. The isolated CTCs can then be stained for identification and enumeration, or retrieved for further molecular analysis. The ClearCell™ System aims to be the next generation of non-invasive ‘liquid biopsy’ approach for cancer screening, diagnosis, staging, personalised medication and treatment monitoring. Headquartered in Singapore, Clearbridge BioMedics currently has customers spanning Asia, Europe and North America. For more information, visit www.clearbridgebiomedics.com
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