Press Releases

SRI International Launches FASTcell Screening Services for Identification and Characterization of Rare Circulating Cancer Cells

MENLO PARK, Calif. – February 18, 2014 – SRI International today announced the availability of its FASTcell™ technology offered as a testing service for detecting and characterizing rare circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from whole blood samples. The technology can rapidly identify and capture a single tumor cell from hundreds of millions of normal blood cells, enabling detailed molecular and genetic analysis.

CTCs are critically important blood markers that may be involved in metastasis. The high sensitivity and specificity of FASTcell™ technology offers cancer researchers and clinicians a vital analytical testing service. FASTcell™ accurately characterizes CTCs from a number of cancers (including breast, lung, prostate, colorectal, and leukemia) by utilizing a wide array of cancer specific biomarkers and has the potential to detect more CTC types than other currently available technologies. Investigators can request either validated testing or custom assay development for a wide range of tumor specific biomarkers.

“One of the most dangerous aspects of cancer is its ability to spread, and early identification and characterization of CTCs is key to gaining an understanding of metastasis. The strength of the FASTcell™ technology, explained Lidia Sambucetti, Ph.D., senior director of SRI’s Center for Cancer and Metabolism, is its exquisite sensitivity and ability to detect CTCs from a broad spectrum of tumor types. Since it enables the simultaneous detection of various tumor-specific biomarkers in a multiplexed fashion, it allows us to address the very real problem of tumor heterogeneity. We envision that being able to characterize the CTCs of any cancer type will be very useful for clinical research and beyond.”

A novel and innovative Fiber-optic Array Scanning Technology (FAST™) cytometer is at the heart of the assay platform. Acquired from PARC, a Xerox company, and advanced by SRI, the cytometer permits high-definition, detailed imaging of individual CTCs. Once the tumor cells have been identified and isolated, further investigation can examine the characteristics of single cells by immunohistochemistry and molecular genomics analyses such as fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis.

The powerful characterization by FASTcell™ technology has been successfully used in a number of collaborative efforts including, in part, with City of Hope Cancer Center to evaluate breast cancer heterogeneity, and with Stanford University School of Medicine, to examine biomarkers on CTCs relative to primary tumor biopsies, for the evaluation of platinum-based therapy in non-small cell lung cancer.

About SRI Biosciences

SRI Biosciences carries out basic research, drug discovery, and drug development. SRI has all of the resources necessary to take R&D from initial discoveries to clinical trials. SRI's product pipeline has yielded marketed drugs, therapeutics currently in human testing, and additional programs at earlier stages. SRI Biosciences offers a wide range of contract research organization (CRO) services, helping government and industry clients and partners advance drugs and other biomedical products toward commercialization. SRI is also working to create the next generation of technologies in areas such as diagnostics, drug delivery, medical devices, and systems biology.