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, 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.
“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.”
The Future of Cancer Detection and Treatment
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.”