Isolation of Rare Cells and Circulating Tumor Cells with Low-Expression Biomarkers


To validate novel technology to further increase the sensitivity of an assay, developed through prior LSDF funding, for early detection of cancer recurrence

Anticipated Impact: 

The ability to identify the presumed most aggressive human circulating tumor cells and subsequent appropriate treatment


Dr. Chiu, under a prior LSDF grant, developed new technology for the isolation of rare cells in general, and circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in particular, and subsequently created two spinout companies to commercialize this technology. CTCs are a marker of cancer recurrence, and their presence could be used diagnostically to re-initiate treatment of presumed metastases. However, CTCs are very rare and require highly sensitive detection methods. The new funding will support validation of novel technology that Dr. Chiu developed to greatly increase the sensitivity of the CTC assay. This work is expected to facilitate commercial translation of the technology, help attract large pharmaceutical companies as development partners, and position the spinout companies as leaders in this rapidly moving and competitive field.

Collaborating organizations:  Lamprogen, MiCareo

Breast Cancer Prognosis, Therapies

Grant Update

Principal Investigator:
Daniel Chiu
Grantee Organization:
University of Washington
Grant Title:
Isolation of Rare Cells and Circulating Tumor Cells with Low-Expression Biomarkers
Grant Cohort and Year:
2012 Grant Award Supplement (06)
Grant Period:
03/01/2013 - 02/28/2015 (Completed)
Grant Amount:
Through the LSDF project, we have developed a new method that is highly sensitive for isolating circulating tumor cells from peripheral blood of cancer patients. Using this technique, we are able to isolate just a few cells in a background of billions of blood cells. Additionally, we are able to isolate subset of the circulating tumor cells that express cancer stem cell markers. This technique is highly sensitive, with a recovery efficiency of about 95%, and highly selective, with a false positive rate of zero from the samples we have ran so far. This new method should find use in cancer prognosis and for studying cancer metastasis.

Impact in Washington

Location of LSDF Grantee
Locations of Collaborations/Areas of Impact

Legislative Districts:
11, 34, 36, 37, 43, 46

Health Impacts

Breast Cancer Prognosis, Therapies