An­gle’s blood-test­ing de­vice ad­vances can­cer treat­ment

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Ju­lia Brad­shaw

BIOTECH com­pany An­gle has scored a win af­ter its blood test­ing tech­nol­ogy was cen­tral in help­ing doc­tors dis­cover a po­ten­tially ground-break­ing treat­ment for can­cer.

The Aim-listed firm’s de­vice, called Par­sor­tix, is able to catch tu­mour cells cir­cu­lat­ing in the blood through a blood test. Now re­searchers at Basel Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal in Switzer­land have shown that Par­sor­tix can also har­vest tu­mour cells that are at­tached to each other in clus­ters, called cir­cu­lat­ing tu­mour cell clus­ters, or CTC clus­ters.

These are highly metastatic, mean­ing they spread the can­cer eas­ily, but re­search has been lim­ited be­cause un­til now it has not been pos­si­ble to har­vest them.

“Where these clus­ters are present in the blood­stream the pa­tient out­come is very poor,” said An­drew New­land, chief ex­ec­u­tive of An­gle.

“What Basel wanted to do was in­ves­ti­gate these clus­ters, and it was only by us­ing Par­sor­tix that they could har­vest them.” The re­searchers found that it is these CTC clus­ters, rather than in­di­vid­ual tu­mour cells, that are largely re­spon­si­ble for spread­ing can­cer to other parts of the body.

But rather than try­ing to kill them through chemo­ther­apy or other treat­ments, which have side ef­fects and can cause can­cers to gain re­sis­tance to treat­ment, the sci­en­tists at­tempted to

‘Rather than try­ing to use chemo­ther­apy, sci­en­tists at­tempted to utilise drugs al­ready on the mar­ket’

break the clus­ters us­ing drugs that are al­ready on the mar­ket, but not in­tended for can­cer. They screened more than 2,500 of these drugs in mice and found a small num­ber could break up the CTC clus­ters ef­fec­tively. The mice treated with these drugs had an 80pc re­duc­tion in metastatic growth.

“With­out our sys­tem they could not have even started do­ing the re­search,” said Mr New­land. Sci­en­tists at Basel hope to start clin­i­cal tri­als in hu­mans with breast can­cer this year.

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