Office for Technology Commercialization

Circulating Tumor Cell Detection with New Reagents

Technology #20140299

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Breast Cancer CellCTC DetectionCancer Treatment
Jayanth Panyam, Ph
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceuticals
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Managed By
Raj Udupa
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-3966
Patent Protection

PCT Patent Application WO2016007919

US Patent Pending 20170157275

New Reagents Bind a Breast Cancer Cell Protein

It has been determined that circulating breast cancer cells differentially express a specific type of membrane protein, and have developed immune reagents that bind selectively to this protein. These reagents could be used for more effective detection of breast cancer circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and could also help develop methods to deliver therapeutic agents to metastatic cancer cells. This new method is highly sensitive and eliminates the need for enrichment steps.

Insufficient CTC Detection Methods

Tumor metastasis is the primary cause of cancer-related deaths. Early detection of CTCs has emerged as an important new prognostic and stratification procedure. CELLSEARCH® is the only available FDA-approved CTC detection system. It detects a tumor cell surface marker called EpCAM; however, studies have shown that a majority of CTCs don’t express EpCAM. Furthermore, EpCAM-negative CTCs may be more metastatic than those that are EpCAM-positive. Improved methods are needed for CTC detection.


  • Highly sensitive
  • Marker detection is more accurate than EpCAM detection
  • Developed reagents effectively bind the novel marker

Phase of Development In vitro and in vivo assessment. Mouse data show the immune reagents specifically identify CTCs.