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Laboratory test to predict spread of breast cancer could aid clinicians in selecting effective drugs

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and other institutions are developing a new laboratory test that induces cancer cells to squeeze through narrow spaces has the potential to accurately predict which breast cancers and other solid tumors are likely to spread to other sites, JHU reports.
The test might also help clinicians select the best drugs to prevent cancer's spread, according to the JHU announcement.

The test, called Microfluidic Assay for quantification of Cell Invasion (MAqCI), uses a device to assess three key features of metastasis: cancer cells' ability to move, to compress in order to enter narrow channels and to proliferate, according to JHU. In laboratory experiments, the MAqCI device accurately predicted the metastatic potential of breast cancer cell lines and of patient-derived tumors grown in animals in a majority of specimens.
 
A description of the experiments is published online in the current issue of Nature Biomedical Engineering.
 
While additional studies are needed to confirm and expand the test's capabilities, researchers are encouraged by their results so far, says senior study author Konstantinos Konstantopoulos, Ph.D., the William H. Schwarz Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering and member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center Cancer Invasion and Metastasis Program. Konstantopoulos also is professor of biomedical engineering and of oncology at Johns Hopkins, and is a core researcher for the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology. Konstantopoulos is a BMES member.

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