Angle's 'Parsortix' used in new groundbreaking cancer research
Liquid biopsy company Angle announced on Monday that its ‘Parsortix’ system had been utilised in further “groundbreaking” cancer research into CTC clusters, reportedly demonstrating that the patient's own immune cells (neutrophils) could actively help the process of metastasis by which the cancer spread.
The AIM-traded firm said the new research, led by Professor Nicola Aceto at the Cancer Metastasis Laboratory, University of Basel, Switzerland, had been published as a peer-reviewed publication in the journal ‘Nature’.
It said the publication followed other research on CTC clusters led by Professor Aceto, recently published in the journal ‘Cell’, which identified drugs which dissociated highly metastatic CTC clusters resulting in a near-total elimination of metastasis in animal models.
The research published in Nature reportedly identified a subset of circulating tumor cell (CTC) clusters - described as a group of cancer and other cells tethered together as a single mass - using Angle’s Parsortix system, in which the cluster contained one or more neutrophil.
Basel investigated the CTC-neutrophil clusters and demonstrated that they were associated with “greatly increased” metastatic ability.
When the mouse model was seeded with CTCs extracted from a CTC-neutrophil cluster, metastasis occurred faster and more aggressively than when it was seeded with CTCs without neutrophils.
Metastatic progression was also said to have been faster in patients with CTC-neutrophil clusters.
The researchers analysed the time from diagnosis of primary breast cancer to subsequent diagnosis of metastatic spread of the disease, and found that 100% of patients with one or more CTC-neutrophil clusters had progressed to secondary cancers within four years, whereas 40% of patients without any CTC-neutrophil clusters had progressed.
Angle said the importance of the new research was that it identified the role of the patient's own immune cells in assisting the cancer cells spread.
They found that the neutrophils enhanced the metastasis-seeding ability of CTCs by releasing specific messenger substances, such as cytokines.
When that release of cytokines was blocked by the researchers in the mouse model, the pro-metastatic effects of neutrophils were stopped.
That opened the potential for the development of new therapies to reduce the metastatic spread of cancer, Angle claimed.
The research also served as further evidence of the importance of the growing interest in research into CTC clusters.
Angle claimed its Parsortix system was the only commercially available system that could support such research, by harvesting CTC clusters from patient blood and mouse models for analysis, with Basel having developed protocols specially optimised for such a process.
“Our research has shown that, surprisingly, the body's own neutrophils act by protecting CTCs in circulation, allowing CTCs to more efficiently seed metastasis,” said Professor Nicola Aceto.
“Indeed, the presence of CTC-neutrophil clusters in the bloodstream also correlates with a poor prognosis of breast cancer patients.
“The next aim will be to identify drugs to nullify the role of the neutrophils in the progression of cancer.”
Angle founder and chief executive, Andrew Newland, added that research into CTC clusters using the Parsortix system had the “potential” to change the way cancer was treated.
“The publication of the University of Basel's research in Nature on CTC-neutrophil clusters, following the previous publication in Cell, is a tremendous achievement for Basel, one of Angle’s leading customers,” Newland said.
“We are delighted that the harvesting of CTC clusters, using the Parsortix system, is a key element in the drive to block the process of cancer metastasis that is responsible for over 90% of deaths from cancer.”