The goal of this SBIR Phase II proposal is to conduct the advanced development of the 3rd-gen Thermoresponsive NanoVelcro assay in order to achieve rapid purification of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patient blood samples, paving the way for CTC-derived molecular signatures and functional readouts. This project is led by Dr. Garcia (PI), who has extensive experience in early-stage development of the technology and has a background in surface chemistry, microfluidics, and in vitro diagnostic technologies. He is supported by an interdisciplinary team comprising business development, FDA expertise, QC/QA management, nanotechnology support, lung cancer, clinical utility, genetic analysis, biostatistics, industrial collaborators, nd downstream potential customers. NSCLC accounts for >70% of lung cancer cases. Since NSCLCs are usually not very sensitive to chemotherapy and/or radiation, the advent of targeted therapy by epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors offer a great treatment options to a sub-population of NSCLC patients who carry oncogenic driver mutations in their EGFR genes. To guide the implementation of targeted therapy, invasive biopsy or surgery is employed to sample NSCLC tissues for determining the presence of these EGFR mutations. However, these invasive sampling procedures impose significant risk to the patients. As an alternative, CTCs can be captured repetitively and analyzed in a minimally invasive manner thus providing a systemic picture of the malignant clones that possess high metastatic capacity. The proposed Thermoresponsive NanoVelcro assay is composed of two individual components: i) a digital fluidic handler with an embedded temperature control module, and ii) a custom-designed chip holder, in which a clamp-down design allows instant assembly of a NanoVelcro substrate with an overlaid PDMS component, will be designed and fabricated at CytoLumina. To highlight the significance of our downstream studies, we will gather serial blood samples from lung cancer patients. We will collect the purified CTCs and subject them to mutational analysis for eight genes, including EGFR., Further, the purified CTCs will be introduced to a variety of in vitro cell culture systems (i.e., microfluidic and 3D cell-culture platforms) established by our joint team (UCLA and CytoLumina) to create viable CTC cell lines. The personalized cell lines will be used to study patterns in drug susceptibility, which is linked to the underlying genetic driver mutation.
A sub-population of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients carries an oncogenic driver mutation in their genes that can be treated by epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors. CytoLumina's SBIR Phase II proposal aims to develop a circulating tumor cell (CTC) purification system capable of instant purification of NSCLC CTCs from patient blood samples, which will facilitate efficient and minimally invasive identification o the mutation in these patients.
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