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In this preliminary effort, we use a commercially available and chemically modified tube to selectively capture circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from the blood stream by immobilizing human anti-EpCAM antibodies on the tube's interior surface. We describe the steps required to modify a tube into a cancer cell capturing device. Using these simple modifications, at this proof-of-concept stage of development, we were able to capture about 85% of cancer cells from suspension and 44% of cancer cells from spiked whole blood, the capture percentage being dependent on the tube's length and the number of cancer cells present. Previous work by other researchers has focused on extracting small blood volumes and capturing CTCs with complicated micro-fluidic devices for diagnostic purposes. In addition, prior results of other researchers point to a possible reduction in metastasis achieved by removing CTCs from the bloodstream. We believe that with the utilization of appropriate tube lengths and procedures, we can ensure capture and removal of nearly the entire CTC population in whole blood. Following whole blood flow through the tube, the tube can be trypsinized to release the captured live CTCs for further analysis and testing.
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