The CTC-chip has the potential to revolutionize cancer detection and cancer care – and it all started with a novel idea and support from the MGH Fund.
Revolutionizing Care: The Next CTC-chip

These extraordinarily rare cancer cells are then analyzed to reveal critical information about the spread of cancer and the potential effectiveness of different treatments. This approach offers the potential to revolutionize the way oncologists detect, monitor, and treat all types of cancers in the future.

Mehmet Toner, PhD
Mehmet Toner, PhD

Mehmet Toner, PhD, director of the MGH Center for BioMicroElectroMechanical Systems, and Daniel Haber, MD, PhD, director of the MGH Cancer Center, developed the CTC-chip at Mass General and put the technology on the map. Gifts to the MGH Fund fueled their initial research.

Several years ago, circulating tumor cells were given little attention, but hospital leadership saw potential in the ideas presented by Drs. Toner and Haber. Today,CTC-chip research at Mass General has received more than $15M from Stand Up to Cancer and the cells are being studied at centers across the country, with Mass General continuing to lead the way.

The Future of Cancer Detection and Treatment

“I am grateful to everyone who supports the MGH Fund,” says Dr. Toner. “Their generosity allowed us to pursue our work and invent new technologies here at Mass General.”

Clinical trials of the second generation CTC-chip are currently underway, with especially promising results shown in patients with prostate cancer. Dr. Toner says that although he considersCTC technology to be in the early stages, the chip shows great potential for manufacturability. His team recently received funding from Johnson & Johnson to develop a third generation CTC-chip that uses a unique magnetic bead system to process larger quantities of blood with even greater accuracy; this technology could aid in earlier cancer detection and enhance cancer care.

“I am grateful to everyone who supports the MGH Fund,” says Dr. Toner. “Their generosity allowed us to pursue our work and invent new technologies here at Mass General, addressing the very roots of what makes cancer so deadly. Without the initial seed funding provided through the MGH Fund, we would not have made the remarkable progress in CTC technologies we can report today.”

Mehmet Toner, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Director of the MGH Center for BioMicroElectroMechanical Systems
Dr.Toner was born in Istanbul, Turkey. He obtained his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the Istanbul Technical University in 1983, and his master’s degree and doctorate in Mechanical Engineering and Medical Engineering at MIT in 1989. Dr. Toner worked on his doctorate under Prof. Ernest Cravalho who was one the first engineering scientists to work on cryobiology and is still a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. Dr. Toner’s early work focused on understanding cellular injuries during cryopreservation and finding optimum strategies for cell preservation. His later works include microfluidics, Bio-sensing and dry preservation of mammalian cells.
Daniel A. Haber, MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Director of the MGH Cancer Center
Dr. Haber is director of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, a professor of Oncology at Harvard Medical School and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HMMI). He earned his B.S. in Life Sciences and M.S. in toxicology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his MD and PhD in biophysics from Stanford University School of Medicine under the mentorship of Robert T. Schimke. He did his postdoctoral training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology with David E. Housman.