Advances towards reliable identification and concentration determination of rare cells in peripheral blood

R. Alemany Server, D. Martens, K. Jans, P. Bienstman, D. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Through further development, integration and validation of micro-nano-bio and biophotonics systems FP7 CanDo is developing an instrument that will permit highly reproducible and reliable identification and concentration determination of rare cells in peripheral blood for two key societal challenges, early and low cost anti-cancer drug efficacy determination and cancer diagnosis/monitoring. A cellular link between the primary malignant tumour and the peripheral metastases, responsible for 90% of cancerrelated deaths, has been established in the form of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in peripheral blood. Furthermore, the relatively short survival time of CTCs in peripheral blood means that their detection is indicative of tumour progression thereby providing in addition to a prognostic value an evaluation of therapeutic efficacy and early recognition of tumour progression in theranostics. In cancer patients however blood concentrations are very low (=1 CTC/1E9 cells) and current detection strategies are too insensitive, limiting use to prognosis of only those with advanced metastatic cancer. Similarly, problems occur in therapeutics with anti-cancer drug development leading to lengthy and costly trials often preventing access to market. The novel cell separation/Raman analysis technologies plus nucleic acid based molecular characterization of the CanDo platform will provide an accurate CTC count with high throughput and high yield meeting both key societal challenges. Being beyond the state of art it will lead to substantial share gains not just in the high end markets of drug discovery and cancer diagnostics but due to modular technologies also in others. Here we present preliminary DNA hybridization sensing results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number97050G
JournalProceedings of SPIE - International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2016
Event14th SPIE Photonics West Conference: Microfluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 13 Feb 201615 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2016 SPIE. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.


  • AlOx sacrificial layer
  • Arrayed Waveguide gratings
  • azide organosilanes
  • Circulating Tumour Cells
  • DNA hybridization
  • Mach Zhender Interferometry
  • Multimode Interference
  • silicon nitride waveguides


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