US-based medical technology company Acousys Biodevices has reported positive results from a proof-of-concept study of its photoacoustic flow cytometer technology.
The study assessed a predictive use of the technology, which detects and captures circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from blood samples of Stage III melanoma patients.
CTCs are indicative of a metastatic spread of cancer through the lymph and circulatory systems, detection of which at the cellular level will pave the way of an early treatment and a patient-specific treatment.
Acousys Biodevice chief scientific officer and abstract lead author John Viator said: "The data suggests we have a strong prognostic tool which warrants further testing for its ability to accurately detect early metastasis, capture intact CTCs and guide the management of advanced stage melanoma patients, as well as its potential use with other types of cancer where circulating tumor cells are known to be important predictors of metastatic disease, such as cancers of the pancreas, breast, and lung.
"With our photoacoustic technology, we aim to usher in a new era of therapy in which advanced cancer is fought cell by cell, rather than against large, macroscopic tumors as is current practice."
The study tested blood samples taken from 14 Stage III melanoma patients afflicted with surgically-resected high-risk disease who remained disease free or relapsed within two years of follow-up.
The Acousys photoacoustic flow cytometer targeted the pigmented circulating melanoma cells in which ultrasonic signatures were created by laser pulse in the melanoma cells, leaving the healthy cells unharmed.
Only the pigmented cells absorbed the laser light creating photoacoustic waves detected by an acoustic transducer which was then detected and captured by the photoacoustic flow cytometer.
It resulted to an accurate prediction of the metastatic progression in the sample patients.
Image: CT scan displaying multiple liver metastases. Photo: courtesy of James Heilman, MD.