Introduction & Objectives - FP7 CANDO
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Introduction & Objectives


Pancreatic cancer is one such target, and is of strong socio-economic interest as currently it is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage when rapid progression has occurred for widespread disease dissemination and so a 96% chance of death for some 68000 Europeans diagnosed every year. A powerful tool for correct diagnosis and staging of pancreatic cancer would permit not just advances in cancer management, where clinicians could prescribe a suitable early treatment and monitor its progress within theranostics, but also in drug discovery for quick and accurate determination of the effectiveness of new anti-cancer drugs in development tests .


CanDo platform will be a point of Care Diagnostics and Monitoring


Within the project, we aim to develop a small technical lab-on-a-chip device that isolates and analyses circulating tumour cells (CTCs) from peripheral blood. CTCs are cells that are released by a tumour and eventually become dangerous to the body by generating metastases. Knowing how many CTCs are present in peripheral blood as analyzing their genetic background may help in the treatment of cancer patients.

Through further development, integration and validation of micro-nano-bio and biophotonics systems from previous projects CanDo will develop an instrument that will permit the identification and concentration determination of rare cells in peripheral blood for two key societal challenges, early and low cost anti-cancer drug efficacy determination and cancer diagnosis/monitoring. A cellular link between the primary malignant tumor and the peripheral metastases, responsible for 90% of cancer-elated deaths, has been established in the form of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in peripheral blood.


Furthermore the relatively short survival time of CTCs in peripheral blood means that their detection is indicative of tumor progression thereby providing in addition to a prognostic value an evaluation of therapeutic efficacy and early recognition of tumor progression in theranostics. In cancer patients however blood concentrations are very low (=1 CTC/1E9 cells) and current detection strategies are too insensitive, limiting use to prognosis of only those with advanced metastatic cancer. Similarly problems occur in therapeutics with anti-cancer drug development leading to lengthy and costly trials often preventing access to market.


There is therefore a clear need for a novel analytical platform capable of highly reproducible and reliable identification of CTC concentrations of interest in an easily accessible format. With all relevant industrial stakeholders and users onboard CanDo is uniquely capable of delivering such a platform. Its novel cell separation/SERS analysis technologies plus nucleic acid based molecular characterization will provide an accurate CTC count with high throughput and high yield meeting both key societal challenges. Being beyond the state of art it will lead to substantial share gains not just in the high end markets of drug discovery and cancer diagnostics but due to modular technologies in others e.g. transport, security and safety and environment.