The device, developed by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers, may greatly simplify the monitoring of patients' response to treatment for ovarian cancer - the most lethal form of gynaecologic cancer - and other malignancies.

The team from the MGH Cancer Center and the Center for Systems Biology reports using their device to isolate and identify tumour cells from ascites, an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen that often occurs in abdominal cancers.

The PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) paper also describes development of a panel of four protein markers (identifiers) to accurately identify ovarian cancer cells in the ascites.

The ability to reliably track treatment response will facilitate doctors to decide if a particular anti-cancer drug should be continued or another option should be tried.


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