Simple Summary: Detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in blood can be used to diagnose cancer or monitor treatment response for various cancers. However, these cells are rare in the bloodstream in the early stages of cancers, and it, therefore, remains a technical challenge to isolate them. To overcome the limitations of a blood draw, we introduce a minimally invasive device, called the BMProbe (TM), for the isolation of CTCs directly from the bloodstream. Thereby a large volume of blood is screened. This study first shows how the geometry of the in vivo BMProbe (TM) causes improved cell deposition conditions. We then performed a verification of the in vivo device using blood samples from lung cancer patients. The results indicate the functionality of the BMProbe (TM) to isolate CTCs in blood samples. The future step is to use the BMProbe (TM) in various types of cancer patients to detect CTCs.
Abstract: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) exist in low quantities in the bloodstream in the early stages of cancers. It, therefore, remains a technical challenge to isolate them in large enough quantities for a precise diagnosis and downstream analysis. We introduce the BMProbe (TM), a minimally invasive device that isolates CTCs during a 30-minute incubation in the median cubital vein. The optimized geometry of the device creates flow conditions for improved cell deposition. The CTCs are isolated using antibodies that are bound to the surface of the BMProbe (TM). In this study, flow experiments using cell culture cells were conducted. They indicate a 31 times greater cell binding efficiency of the BMProbe (TM) compared to a flat geometry. Further, the functionality of isolating CTCs from patient blood was verified in a small ex vivo study that compared the cell count from seven non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) patients compared to nine healthy controls with 10 mL blood samples. The median cell count was 1 in NSCLC patients and 0 in healthy controls. In conclusion, the BMProbe (TM) is a promising method to isolate CTCs in large quantities directly from the venous bloodstream without removing blood from a patient. The future step is to verify the functionality in vivo.