Martin Luther King Day

Baylor College of Medicine will be closed on Monday, Jan. 18 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.


Circulating Tumor Cells Core Facility


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

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Dario Marchetti, Ph.D., Director, CTC Core

Circulating tumor cells 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 ability to travel to other parts of the body, causing metastasis and ultimately death.


Why Is Circulating Tumor Cells Testing Important?

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Equipment in the CTC Core Facility.

It 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).

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