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Pathology & Immunology

Houston, Texas

Pathology and Immunology
Pathology & Immunology
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Circulating Tumor Cells Core Facility

The Circulating Tumor Cells Core is devoted to the biology and enumeration of circulating tumor cells in metastatic cancers.

Dario Marchetti, Ph.D. - Director of the CTC Core FacilityContact:

Dario Marchetti, Ph.D., Director
Fax: 713-798-1956

What are Circulating Tumor Cells?

CTC are the ‘seeds' of cancer metastasis. There are millions of these cells at any one time in the blood circulation due to their shedding from the tumor primary site and abilities to travel to other parts of the body, causing metastasis and ultimately death.

Why is Circulating Tumor Cells testing important?

Dario Marchetti, Ph.D - Director of the CTC Core FacilityIt has been proven that CTC enumeration represents an independent prognostic indicator, and correlates with the survival and potential for relapse in patients with breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. The CTC test, which is distributed by Veridex LLC (a Johnson & Johnson Company), is able to identify, visualize, and count CTC in a small (7.5 ml) blood sample to predict disease progression and survival. Through the ability to locate as low as one CTC among 40 billion cells in the blood sample – an achievement no other diagnostic approach has been able to accomplish – the CTC test can assist oncologists to make timely, informed decisions about patient care. Further, it is the only diagnostic platform which has been approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration as unique resource critical for patient management in metastatic cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon, and their monitoring. In these cancer types, it has been proven that CTC act as independent prognostic indicator of patient free and overall survival (see figures below).

How do I order CTC tests?

Please contact Dario Marchetti, Ph.D. (713-798-2335 or, per above. For additional information on CTC testing and tutorials, please visit

Furthermore, procedures and technologies have been developed to enable investigations of Circulating Endothelial Cells (CEC) extending from cancer settings, as indicators of other vascular damage-associated diseases such as diabetes.

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