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fluorescentpuppy t1_jadbgfq wrote

This isn't remotely new or novel. Its just another microfluidic device in the sea of microfluidic device research for liquid biopsies. There's hundreds of these papers published everyday, and eventual marketable product and mainstream use is years of development away from an industrial viewpoint.

Source: worked on microfluidic devices through grad school for disease detection. Currently work for a liquid biopsy company for cancer diagnosis.


YouPresumeTooMuch t1_jadq3ny wrote

Surely we still remember Theranos, it's been less than a year since sentencing


olderaccount t1_jae6ltw wrote

The reason Theranos happened is because the concept is viable. They just decided to start faking results when their implementation wasn't living up to the promises.


Cursory_Analysis t1_jaeb54q wrote

The concept of blood testing in general is plenty viable.

Theranos’ concept specifically as a bioengineering concept was actually not at all viable.

Every single person that looked at the product that they were peddling was saying “well, even in theory this isn’t possible to do”.


Thanges88 t1_jaedazq wrote

What was Theranos' bioengineering concept?


Doc_Lewis t1_jaeexyg wrote

Detecting very scarce amounts of material from improbably small amounts of sample


Thanges88 t1_jaefain wrote

Ah yep, I just didn't classify that in my mind as a bioengineering concept.


VdomanFla t1_jaeebt1 wrote

As long as she keeps getting pregnant, she can delay going to prison.


ron_leflore t1_jaej9i8 wrote

Haha, this sentence is in every micro fluidic paper:

> Existing technologies are time-consuming, expensive and rely on skilled operators, limiting their application in clinical settings.


ksknksk t1_jaf468k wrote

I mean, yeah?

It’s the motivation for the research, so other papers doing similar research on the same overall topic (mfd) would have essentially the same motivation (or at least partly if there are other driving factors)?


Hannibal_Lecture t1_jaecwt8 wrote

There are a number of circulating tumour DNA liquid biopsies available today, the most publicised is probably from Grail Therapeutics, but there are a few others such as the Cancer Research UK backed Inivata.


kingpubcrisps t1_jadzzqr wrote

It is available now.


>CellMate® is a modular diagnostic platform for cancer detection and biomarker analysis. Our next generation liquid biopsy isolates circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from peripheral blood across cancer diagnoses and tumor stages. CTCs are further quantified and categorized by protein expression and genomic variants.


warrensussex t1_jaebh63 wrote

That just sounds like another proof of concept paper. I don't see anything in your link about a product currently on the market or even when it might be.


CheekyGruffFaddler t1_jaen9h1 wrote

I figured this would have made it into Nature or Science if it were as groundbreaking as the title suggested, but apparently it’s just a microfluidic pH meter?


rocket_randall t1_jaeo68z wrote

A boutique genetics company I used to work for was researching and fundraising off the same idea. The way the director of bioinformatics at that job described it to me as akin to tapping into the sewer line for a small city and from a random sample being able to ascertain whether or not anyone in the city ate natto the previous evening, and even then it's another matter entirely to identify in which home the natto was eaten. He was highly skeptical of it ever delivering the claimed results without some major advancement in technology, and every one of these press releases seems more or less the same as what I was reading internally almost a decade ago. Then again I am just a software guy and not someone with training or expertise in this field.


hlx-atom t1_jaeqdm1 wrote

Sure, but there are methods to amplify signal that the analogy is missing. The amplification can be imprecise which leads to false positives and negatives.


koyo4 t1_jaeuqe2 wrote

Yup not new at all. But an increasingly growing field.


harryoe t1_jaexyqe wrote

There are already some microfluidic devices approved and for sale today. It's unfortunate how bad of a reputation the field has since there have been many fraudulent products which use the concept (notably theranos)


Tower21 t1_jaewskm wrote

Years like 5 to 10 or 20 to 30?


ben7337 t1_jaexebz wrote

What are the hurdles to a mainstream/mass producible product to enable this sort of technology? The article here says they have a device that can be used in clinical settings which they are parenting and planning to commercialize, though I suppose plenty of battery tech that never comes to fruition also likely goes through similar steps. However as a layperson it's not really clear what if anything is stopping something like this. Would you mind providing some insight into this?


globaloffender t1_jaf175a wrote

Do you mind sharing what company? Illumina? I’m sorta in the field


Lambylambowski t1_jaee83w wrote

Thank the GODS OF PROFIT that this is years away.. the medical industry as a whole is already suffering financially.


Jrj84105 t1_jacnuvz wrote

Blood is basically an organ in and of itself.
Liquid biopsies and circulating tumor cell analysis isn’t a novel technology. The problem is that blood is just one of many places metastases may go, so it tends to be less informative than hoped.


Velghast t1_jadgdj6 wrote

Exactly. Just because you're having a problem with your suspension doesn't mean it's going to show up in the oil.


PM_me_storm_drains t1_jae1yik wrote

This is more like analyzing the oil and seeing metal flakes or drops of coolant.


mrbrambles t1_jae4eqo wrote

Eh, it would if the oil constantly bathed every piece of the mechanics like blood does. Blood is the delivery system for payloads around the body. Cancer is going to metastasize either through the blood system or the lymph system (which dumps into the blood system).

Basically it’s more like setting up a DUI checkpoint to capture drunk drivers. Not going to catch them all, but if you set them up in the right places at the right time you’ll find some and learn you have a problem.


OkBiscotti1140 t1_jaegvdh wrote

Yep. Looking at you negative Cancer Antigen 15-3 and Carcinoembryonic Antigen tests while I actively had untreated cancer.


mrbrambles t1_jae4wb3 wrote

How do the metastatic cells travel to other sites in the body to metastasize? Blood or lymph systems. Sentinel lymph nodes and blood are ways to possibly monitor the shedding of metastatic cells, but won’t tell you where the end up. A cancer that isn’t shedding metastatic cells is much more treatable than one that is pumping cells into the circulatory system.


MundanePlantain1 t1_jacgmye wrote

This is how Theranos began.


cookiedux t1_jach9q3 wrote

Not really, Theranos began with the premise, “people avoid blood tests because they don’t like providing blood the traditional way” and then they just made up the science. It was a non-problem in search of a profitable solution.


MundanePlantain1 t1_jachhyg wrote

I was unsuccessful in making a joke.


Jack55555 t1_jacyxxk wrote

I clicked on the comments to see this.

That’s a win in my book.


SerialStateLineXer t1_jadlz4f wrote

This happens, without fail, in every thread about using blood tests to diagnose cancer. Usually multiple times. It's Holmes' Law.


CH23 t1_jacj6y0 wrote

Admitting you have a problem is the first step in fixing the problem ;)


Arkayb33 t1_jacow3w wrote

The documentary on HBOmax was pretty good.

One part, they talk about how the engineers had to fiddle with the inner bits of the machine while it was running and risk getting stabbed by the needles inside the machine that were splattered with client blood samples.


cookiedux t1_jacqpfg wrote

Oh man I saw it and I don’t even remember that. ::shudder::


OpenToCommunicate t1_jadh045 wrote

Hey I have never seen the : symbol used in this way before. Are you mimicking the back and forth movement of the word shudder? Or is it trying to express something else?


odd84 t1_jadjjhn wrote

Its usage like this dates back to early bulletin board systems, MUDs (text-only MMOs), and AOL chat rooms. It's a convention from those on the internet in the 1970s-1990s. You'd use it to separate actions from dialogue when chatting or roleplaying.


cookiedux t1_jadz7v6 wrote

thank you! came here to talk about AIM :)


giuliomagnifico OP t1_jacjc60 wrote

Yes but this a university/public stuff, not a private company business.


micromaniac_8 t1_jacv52v wrote

Universities sell and lease IP every day. Academic research is largely theoretical. Biotech companies spend billions every year trying to get from theories to practice.


Artanthos t1_jad5ne6 wrote

It’s also how a lot of real advances have begun.


hinstsui t1_jadmqnu wrote

This is what Theranos bring to the table when people hear about any blood related research progress in the not so distant subsequent future


thirsty_aquilUM t1_jadjrxe wrote

They better not be named Theranos…


bawki t1_jadwmx4 wrote

No it is, Therayes.


elganyan t1_jae51kf wrote

Sounds legit. Where do I invest?


bawki t1_jaei5ln wrote

It will be available as an NFT through an app that I started developing with a friendly guy who asked me if I wanted to develop an app with him.


Suthek t1_jadc87w wrote

Wouldn't this only work if the cancer had already metastasized? Otherwise there wouldn't be cancer cells in the blood (unless it's blood cancer).


SerialStateLineXer t1_jadlscb wrote

Cells produce molecules which circulate in the blood, so you don't have to wait for circulating cancer cells. The tricky part is finding molecular signatures that identify cancer with high sensitivity and specificity.

For example, elevated prostate-specific antigen is a sign of something wonky going on in the prostate, which may be cancer, but also may not.

Edit: See responses. This comment isn't relevant to this particular device, which actually looks for cancer cells in the blood.


snoopervisor t1_jae2egt wrote

The title specifically says cancer cells. And that's what the article is about: "Managing cancer through the assessment of tumour cells in blood samples is far less invasive than taking tissue biopsies."

Looks like it's for people who went to the doctor a bit too late. The method only makes their tests a bit less painful.


mrbrambles t1_jae5ctj wrote

Metastasis is, theoretically, when circulating cells embed in new areas. If you already have a secondary metastasis, it’s too late. This could potentially be a way to better determine if a cancerous tumor is still isolated to one location, or if it’s starting to shed cells that will eventually become detectably large and embedded metastatic secondary tumors.


SaltZookeepergame691 t1_jadcrv4 wrote

This is a long way from any clinical use.

This is the paper:

They aren't actually assessing how good it is as a tool to detect cancer, or monitor response to treatment: most of the paper is demonstrating that the device can analyse metabolic features of a lot of individual cells extracted from (mouse) blood at once - and it seems it can spot cancer cells that are in the blood. But being able to spot mouse cancer cells when you know there is a cancer is a long way from giving someone a blood test to spot cancer. This will be very dependent both on how sensitive and specific any test is, and how frequent the cancers are in the target populations (eg, is it the general population, or those with symptoms, or those at high-risk, or recurrent settings, etc).


chicagoK t1_jadcv8w wrote

A similar technology, developed over 7 years ago, is already being marketed. GRAIL


HapticSloughton t1_jadc03y wrote

Yet another medical advance that won't be remotely affordable to most Americans because our healthcare system is slaved to capitalism and the whims of people whose bonuses rely on denying care.


[deleted] t1_jadvwcg wrote

The cool thing about microfluidic devices such as this is that they are super easy and inexpensive to make. Like anyone could make this in their garage with about $1000 worth of equipment, or a $50 membership to a makerspace.


[deleted] t1_jadwlvl wrote



[deleted] t1_jady8mw wrote

No it literally is not.

Microfluidics is a huge, important field of research that is bringing the cost of care down by an order of magnitude and elevating the quality of care in developing nations by another order of magnitude.


Rounder057 t1_jadb7wp wrote

Can I still get my prostrate exam?!


LampshadeThis t1_jacrico wrote

Who is the Elizabeth Holmes behind this project?


Kittentits1123 t1_jaebt4t wrote

If this makes cervical biopsies for women less horrific that'd be great. I still can't believe we have to get those without any anesthetic. "Just a little pinch" my lilly white ass.


mailslot t1_jadcpro wrote

Tech like this has been around for a few years, and companies with machinery already exist.


CheezeCaek2 t1_jad69to wrote

Only 10,000,000 dollars per use.


Cyber-Cafe t1_jadvszs wrote

I genuinely thought we were already able to do that. Crazy how far medical science has come, but how far we still have to go.


reliableshot t1_jadyg5t wrote

Devices like these are there for decades. However, our ability to identify molecules that could be targeted and would be able to give us definitive answers- aren't. Sometimes when it is known patient has cancer, but biopsy is not preferable or possible, blood tests for circulating cells, circulating tumor DNA are performed. This does not work well with specific tumors that don't normally leak into blood.

Sorry for long one. Basically, there's still long way to go when it comes to using something like this for detection.


Cyber-Cafe t1_jadylfm wrote

No problem! I enjoyed the information. Thanks.


Princessferfs t1_jae3c2w wrote

Isn’t that basically what the CA-125 test is? That’s been around for ages.


Lambylambowski t1_jaeehkk wrote

What ever happened to the doc at MD Anderson that injected gold particles into tumors, hit them with basic radio waves and destroyed the tumor?

60 minutes did a thing a long time ago.

Why isn't that a treatment?


TBSchemer t1_jaeevpn wrote

This can be done much better with proteomics, or multiomics approaches.

With proteomics or multiomics, you don't need cells metastasized into the bloodstream. You only need secreted proteins and metabolic byproducts.

PrognomiQ is one company working on this.


jamtribb t1_jaf09r3 wrote

Is this another Theranos?


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Beerasaurus t1_jadu8p4 wrote

Just don’t call it Theranos 2. People might get suspicious


DieSchadenfreude t1_jae1tfk wrote

The only time I can see this going wrong is some cancers are miniscule and die out on their own. The test probably isn't that sensitive though. That and usually the reason the cancer cells die out and don't spread is a lack of access to blood anyway.


Lambylambowski t1_jaee1d9 wrote

They will need to make this device ULTRA expensive to make up for the lost revenu.


Pirwzy t1_jaegp3a wrote

Only $20,000 per reading (probably)


scrapper t1_jaelwx1 wrote

If you have a suspicious looking radiographic finding in your breast or lung or liver eg, finding or not finding cancer on a blood tells does not obviate the need for an invasive biopsy of that density.


Karraten t1_jaens75 wrote

Coming soon to a hospital near you for the low low price of $150,000 per minute


zombiefied t1_jaep9lq wrote

I thought this was already possible for prostate cancer?


Ronbergs t1_jaf3ym9 wrote

We are promised a very bright future if we can get corruption out of our governments and fix our systems.