ANGLE hails “tremendous” step forward as Parsortix device separates cancer cells in patient blood

by Symptom Advice on January 26, 2012

The potentially revolutionary cancer cell separation device being developed by ANGLE’s (LON:AGL) subsidiary Parsortix has separated cells in blood from a patient, the IP firm said today.

It is the first time the device has identified circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in blood taken from someone with cancer.

Previously the Parsortix device had identified cultured breast cancer cells, prostate cancer cells and lung cancer cells in “spiked blood”, where the cells had been added. 

ANGLE said the latest test results are significant because a sample of actual cancer patient blood would be expected to contain only a very small number of CTCs and it was not clear if the patient’s disease would adversely affect the device’s performance. 

ANGLE founder and chief executive, Andrew Newland said: “The successful capture of CTCs in cancer patient blood is a tremendous step forward towards our goal of establishing the Parsortix separation technology as a market-leading product, which is simple, effective and affordable.”

The results are the first from the recent research agreement with the University of Surrey’s oncology department. 

Using facilities at the university, Parsortix undertook a series of small volume separations of the blood of late stage prostate cancer patients.  

The blood passed successfully through the device and in a number of separations captured tumour cells were clearly identified and confirmed by the University of Surrey’s oncology team.  

The results compare favourably with the existing FDA approved antibody-based capture technology, ANGLE added. 

Professor Hardev Pandha at the University of Surrey Oncology Department added: “The University of Surrey is delighted to be working with ANGLE on this novel approach to CTC capture.  Effective monitoring of the level of CTCs in patients’ blood offers great potential for the improvement of cancer treatment.” 

Shares in ANGLE have nearly trebled since last September when it announced Parsortix had been successful in early trials to separate cancer cells using its device.

The group said today the next stages for development will include the validation of the separation device for other cancer types, particularly those where the existing antibody affinity capture technology is unable to capture CTCs, such as ovarian cancer.

ANGLE also said it wants to optimise of the device to allow its easy use in the laboratory and to increase the volume of blood that can be screened and the speed of blood flow.

It will also work to get validation of the performance of the Parsortix device by leading independent cancer research centres.

ANGLE believes the device will have huge ramifications for the way cancer is treated and monitored going forward.

As well as detecting CTCs at a very early stage, the device can also help identify if chemotherapy is working or not, which would mean a huge improvement in the way chemotherapy is administered.

The device also has the potential to monitor patients in remission and to pick up early signs of the return of the cancer ahead of the patient experiencing any symptoms.

A simple blood test using the Parsortix device could also provide routine screening of healthy people to check for early signs of cancer ahead of any symptoms, while it could be possible to use the captured CTCs for molecular profiling to help define tumour biology and risk of progression, ANGLE said.

To be sold for use in hospitals the device requires approval from the all powerful US Food & Drug Administration and a CE Mark here in Europe, but research facilities and laboratories do not need regulatory certification.

ANGLE estimates the potential in the clinical and research markets to be worth conservatively around US$4 billion annually in the United States alone

ANGLE owns 90 per cent of Parsortix.

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