Cancer cells that spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body from an original location frequently travel through the bloodstream. Because there are so few of these cells in blood, compared to the enormous number of red and white blood cells, the circulating tumor cells (CTC) are very difficult to find. A test that could find CTC would make diagnosing cancer easier and help doctors to design treatment plans.
New research has shown that it is possible to create small sheets coated with tiny 'nano dots'. Researchers then attached antibodies to the dots and showed that this new (bumpy and sticky) surface, was very good at capturing CTC. The researchers hope to develop a laboratory test to detect CTC with their technology.