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Assays & screens

Telomerase promoter activity-based assay to detect circulating tumor cells (CTCs)

An adenovirus that expresses GFP from the telomerase promoter could be used to detect CTCs in patients with brain cancer. Telomerase activity is elevated in nearly all types of tumor cells but not normal cells. In blood samples from patients with glioma undergoing radiation therapy, the reporter-based assay detected CTCs in 8 of 11 patients pre-radiation therapy, 1 of 8 patients post-radiation therapy and 0 of 10 healthy controls. In sequential blood samples from two patients, the reporter assay distinguished progressive disease and tumor recurrence in one patient from pseudoprogression in the second patient. Next steps could include using the assay in larger cohorts of patients with glioma.

SciBX 7(11); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.324
Published online March 20, 2014

Patent filed; licensing status undisclosed

MacArthur, K.M. et al. Cancer Res.; published online Feb. 13, 2014;
Contact: Jay F. Dorsey, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.