Vortex Biosciences, a leading provider of circulating tumor cell (CTC) isolation systems, and BioView Ltd. (TASE:BIOV), a provider of automated cell imaging and analysis solutions, announced a collaboration today to develop an integrated workflow for identifying clinical biomarkers on CTCs.
Tumor biopsies are currently used for identifying diagnostic biomarkers that inform cancer patient treatment. Tumor biopsies, however, are invasive, costly, capture only a select subset of tumor cells in the patient, and are very challenging to perform multiple times during a patient’s treatment to monitor the cancer status in the patient. CTCs offer a better alternative. They are collected from a low cost, non-invasive blood draw, allowing for ongoing monitoring of the cancer status. Furthermore, CTCs enter the blood stream from all of the different tumor sites in a patient, making the sample more representative of a patient’s cancer biology than a tissue biopsy. Vortex Biosciences and BioView are integrating their best in class technologies to create a workflow for the isolation and characterization of CTCs to provide clinical insights to physicians.
The simple to use, fully automated VTX-1 Liquid Biopsy System automates the isolation of CTCs directly from whole blood. The VTX-1 utilizes a proprietary microfluidic chip to stably trap and capture CTCs in micro-scale vortices based on their size and deformability while the red and white blood cells are removed. The isolated CTCs can then be deposited on a specially designed glass slide for analysis. The CTCs adhere to the glass slide with high affinity making characterizing assays like immunostaining or FISH possible.
BioView’s state of the art Duet imaging system and proprietary CTC analysis algorithm automates the identification and biomarker analysis of CTCs on a glass slide. The CTC analysis algorithm was developed in collaboration with leading cancer research centers worldwide, utilizing cellular and biomarker signals to improve the sensitivity and accuracy of CTC detection and reduce analysis time. In order for CTCs to have true clinical utility, an automated, high-throughput system with specialized algorithms for the detection of the cells is critical.
“We are delighted to collaborate with BioView to develop solutions for the clinical characterization of CTCs,” said Gene Walther, Chief Executive Officer at Vortex Biosciences. “A fundamental part of our strategy is to partner with analytical leaders to create integrated workflows that allow for CTCs to become part of the standard of care.”
“We are excited to be working with Vortex Biosciences to move the characterization of CTCs into the clinical market,” said Dr. Alan Schwebel, President and CEO at Bioview. “The imaging platform we have developed will provide the simplicity needed for CTCs to achieve their clinical potential.”
The integrated VTX-1 and BioView workflow is currently being used in several clinical studies focused on CTC enumeration, ALK FISH rearrangements and PD-L1 expression on CTCs. PD-L1, in particular, has been a focus of the collaboration because of the potential clinical benefits. Overexpression of PD-L1 has been identified as a pathway that metastatic tumor cells use to evade immune detection. Immunotherapy based on inhibition of PD-1 or PD-L1 represents a breakthrough in the treatment of advanced cancers. PD-L1 expression levels on tumor biopsies have been demonstrated to be a reasonable biomarker for stratifying patients that will respond better to immunotherapy treatments. Vortex and Bioview believe measuring expression on CTCs can offer more clinical value as it enables monitoring the cancer over time in a cost effective, low risk manner. Vortex and BioView have developed an assay that allows researchers to assess the presence of PD-L1 on CTC surfaces. The belief is that the assay will be able to be used to perform initial diagnoses and to monitor changes in PD-L1 expression during treatment leading to more targeted therapeutic treatment.
The combination of state of the art CTC isolation with CTC specific imaging algorithms opens new paths for the characterization of CTCs to realize their clinical potential.
About Vortex Biosciences:
Vortex Biosciences is a cancer research and diagnostics company that integrates cancer biology, microfluidic engineering and informatics to develop tools for isolating and characterizing circulating tumor cells. The Vortex VTX-1 instrument harvests intact circulating tumor cells from whole blood samples for use in downstream research and clinical applications such as patient stratification in clinical trials, monitoring disease progression and drug treatment effectiveness. With a mission to enable noninvasive diagnosis of cancer and real-time monitoring throughout a patient’s treatment, Vortex is at the forefront of accelerating cancer research and improving patient outcomes. Vortex is a core subsidiary of NetScientific plc, a transatlantic healthcare technology group with an investment strategy focused on sourcing, funding and commercializing technologies that significantly improve the health and well-being of people with chronic diseases. For more information, visit http://www.vortexbiosciences.com.