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Clinical investigation of Cluster-Wells in pediatric brain tumors

Tobey MacDonald, MD

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

An emerging technology being developed for multiple applications in cancer focuses on the analysis of circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Such cells are derived from the primary tumor and can be found in the blood or other body fluids though in low numbers. Rapid advances for the capture and analysis of CTCs including the Cluster-Wells technology recently developed at Georgia Institute of Technology, provides a new way to monitor tumor growth or response to treatment. With funding from CURE Childhood Cancer, Dr. Toby MacDonald at Emory University will utilize the Cluster-Wells technology to clinically evaluate CTCs in cell clusters derived from the bloodstream of children with brain tumors. In this study, they hope to identify which types of brain tumors generate CTCs and whether they can be used diagnostically to monitor the impact of therapy. If successful, Cluster-Wells technology could be validated in large prospective clinical trials as a new tool to non-invasively monitor for minimal active disease and to better guide therapy for pediatric brain tumors, the most common cause of death due to disease in children.