Read the full article at http://bit.ly/liuctc
A team led by Yaling Liu, Lehigh University associate professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics, and Shu Yang, University of Pennsylvania professor of materials science, are fighting cancer. But they aren’t seeking a cure — they are working on making it irrelevant.
The team has developed a promising technique for isolating and detecting circulating tumor cells (CTCs) that travel through a person’s bloodstream among billions of healthy blood cells. It’s so powerful, it can detect cancer LONG before the tumor would be noticed by MRI or other existing techniques. And the material cost for the device is under a dollar.
CTCs are a general biomarker for cancer, meaning, they can be used to detect almost any form of the disease. And once those CTCs are trapped, they can be tested for molecular-level biomarkers to pinpoint their source. Imagine it — cancer diagnosis before a tumor can muster the strength to do any real damage.
With a three-year grant from NSF, the team is designing and testing a tiny “lab-on-a-chip” device that could make screening for CTCs part of a routine blood test.
If you’ve ever wondered why it is so vital that engineers be involved in medicine and healthcare, look no further than the game-changing research underway at Lehigh and UPenn.