The CTChip used to retrieve circulating tumour cells
Biolidics Limited's two ClearCell® systems are used to detect wholly intact circulating tumour cells (CTCs) from small amounts of bloods using their proprietary microfluidic CTChips. These CTCs can be used for further diagnostic testing and cell culture, paving the way for use of the cells in treatment monitoring and personalized medicine.
The ClearCell® CX System uses two types of clear chips – the CTChip® CS and the CTChip® CR. The CTChip® CS is used for isolation of CTCs, and thereafter on-chip staining and enumeration of CTCs from whole blood. The CTChip® CR is optimized for isolation, and thereafter retrieval of wholly intact CTCs from whole blood. This offers benefits over conventional methods that require biomarkers to bind to CTCs, as CTCs are usually altered or damaged, making them unsuitable for culturing and further analysis.
The newer ClearCell® FX1 System uses the CTChip® FR to separate larger target cells from smaller blood cells in a label-free system. By leveraging the process of Dean Flow Fractionation (DFF), CTCs can be isolated based on size and inertia relative to other blood components. Through the process of DFF, blood cells separate and distribute themselves within channels, with the larger cells along the inner wall and the smaller cells away from the inner wall. This allows for effective and rapid separation without comprising on the quality of the retrieved cells.
Their product is commercially available and has been deployed internationally in the USA, Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, and some European countries, including the UK. The technology was officially launched at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting in Chicago in May 2014.
The CTChip® was developed by Prof Lim Chwee Teck from the National University of Singapore and Mechanobiology Institute Singapore, and was partially funded under NRF’s Research Centre of Excellence Programme. The technology was later commercialised by an NUS start-up, Clearbridge Biomedics, which was supported by Clearbridge Accelerator (now known as Clearbridge Health) under NRF’s Technology Incubation Scheme. Clearbridge Biomedics is now known as Biolidics Limited.