In a proof-of-concept study, researchers have demonstrated that a melanoma-specific version of the OncoBean lab-on-a-chip technology could be used in melanoma diagnosis and prognosis from blood samples. They named the technology MelanoBean.
In a paper published online in Advanced NanoBiomed Research (April 19, 2022), the researchers detail how they used a dedicated microfluidic system to evaluate the number and characteristics of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) and CTC clusters in blood samples taken from 45 human subjects both before and after surgical treatment of melanoma.
The melanoma patients, who had melanomas at all stages (I-IV) in the study had noticeably more CTCs and CTC clusters than healthy donors, and surgical treatment resulted in a significant decrease in CTC numbers.
As well, the authors note that the CTCs recovered after going through the device can undergo molecular profiling for melanoma-associated gene expression, potentially allowing physicians to monitor for the molecular signatures of melanoma during treatment.
“The presented MelanoBean and the comprehensive approach [based on measuring the change in the number and characteristics of CTCs/CTCs-clusters pre- and post-surgical treatment] will empower prognostic value of CTCs in melanoma in much larger cohort studies,” the authors conclude.