Angle’s blood-testing device advances cancer treatment
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.