The National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and Clearbridge BioMedics have collaborated on a research project that can potentially help determine the appropriate treatment regime for breast cancer patients.
Using the ClearCell® FX1 System from Clearbridge BioMedics, researchers from NCCS and SGH revealed heterogeneity in circulating tumour cells (CTCs, cells from a solid tumour that travel in the bloodstream) from 26 local breast cancer patients. Heterogeneity refers to the differences between different tumours, and in this case, among individual CTCs. Thus, this enabled the researchers to identify if a breast cancer patient might test positive for HER2 – meaning their cancer may grow and spread more aggressively.
“By studying the heterogeneity of a patient’s cancer cells, personalising cancer treatment can be achieved. This will enable us to explore new methods to improve patient care and outcomes,” said Professor Tan Puay Hoon, Head, Department of Pathology, Senior Consultant, SGH. “The presence of HER2-positive CTCs in patients can potentially help determine the appropriate treatment regime,” added Mr Johnson Chen, Managing Director and Founder of Clearbridge BioMedics.
Clearbridge BioMedics is a clinical stage oncology research and diagnostics company, headquartered in Singapore. Together with NCCS and SGH, further research is being conducted in this area of CTCs with the goal of integrating this into daily clinical care.
With the technology, detection can be done from a simple blood draw. “CTCs can be regarded as a form of liquid biopsy, which is non-invasive and potentially useful for our patients. To advance the development of this technology platform, further research on its applications and utility will be conducted before using it for routine clinical care,” said Dr Yap Yoon Sim, Senior Consultant, National Cancer Centre Singapore and lead investigator in the study.
The results of this research project were presented at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2016 held in New Orleans, USA.