Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Technology in Tracing Cancer Cells

This came as welcome news to me--albeit too late for a loved one--that a new form of technology has now hit the forefront in medical research that may provide a much-needed breakthrough in stopping cancer from doing what it does so well: kill.

The technology comes in the form of a device that researchers say can detect, isolate and analyze the tiniest fragments of tumor cells still circulating in the blood. The cells, called CTC's are crucial in the occurrence of metastatic disease, because they have been extremely difficult to detect and trap, until it was too late for the patient. According to the research team responsible for developing the device, "Nine out of 10 deaths in cancer are due to the metastatic process...These are really the cells that end up killing people."

The technology will be significant in helping to arrest the disease, because the ability to monitor the existence and rate of growth of these cells would give doctors a significant advantage in detecting remaining disease following surgery or drug treatment.

Too late for my niece who waged...and eleven-year war against breast cancer--but possibly a ray of hope for those currently fighting the fight.

Access the complete Reuters article here.

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