Researchers at the University of Michigan developed a graphene oxide-based device that could provide a non-invasive way to monitor the progress of an advanced cancer treatment. The device is able to capture cancer cells out of a blood sample and let them go later, enabling further tests that can show whether the therapy is successfully eliminating the most dangerous cancer cells.
The scientists explain that cells released into the bloodstream by tumors could be used to monitor cancer treatment, but they are very difficult to capture, accounting for roughly one in a billion cells. In their quest to develop technologies for capturing such cells from blood samples, they researchers designed devices that trapped the cells on chips made with graphene oxide, but all analysis had to be done on the chip because the cells were firmly adhered. However, it was found important to study cells individually, and this new device makes this possible.