Cambridge firm helps commercialise cancer diagnostic device

A cancer diagnostic device which is able to isolate and capture circulating tumour cells (CTCs) from a blood sample, at concentrations as low as one in a billion blood cells, has been developed by Clearbridge BioMedics in partnership with Cambridge Consultants.


According to the developers, this is crucial for both research and clinical purposes, as CTCs play a significant role in metastasis, a cause of cancer-related deaths.

“This commercial launch of the ClearCell FX System marks a new milestone in the project after a successful transfer from design and development to manufacturing,” said John Pritchard, head of diagnostics at Cambridge Consultants, which helped to translate Singapore-based Clearbridge Biomedics’ design into a commercial prototype.

“It’s the latest example of our expertise in the design and development of diagnostic instrumentation, coupled with our long track record of helping clients bring innovative products to market fast. In this case it has helped create a device that has the potential to increase understanding of cancer – and, ultimately, improve patient care.”

The ClearCell FX System uses biomechanical properties to isolate intact, viable CTCs, making it label free , this is without biochemical markers.

The sensitivity of the devcie allows researchers to achieve reproducible results allowing them to better study CTCs and cancer metastasis biology, and potentially develop new cancer treatments.

According to Johnson Chen, managing director of Clearbridge BioMedics: “Real-time monitoring of a patient’s CTCs allows clinicians to develop the best treatment at the right time. By matching treatments to the patient, they benefit from optimal treatment outcomes, with fewer negative side effects and lower costs.”

The system is already being used by the Circulating Tumour Cell Centre of Research Excellence (CTC CoRE) – a collaboration between Clearbridge BioMedics, the National Cancer Centre Singapore and the pathology department at Singapore General Hospital.

The ClearCell® FX System will be showcased at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), May 30 to June 3, in Chicago.


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