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cookiedux t1_jach9q3 wrote

Not really, Theranos began with the premise, “people avoid blood tests because they don’t like providing blood the traditional way” and then they just made up the science. It was a non-problem in search of a profitable solution.


Jrj84105 t1_jacnuvz wrote

Blood is basically an organ in and of itself.
Liquid biopsies and circulating tumor cell analysis isn’t a novel technology. The problem is that blood is just one of many places metastases may go, so it tends to be less informative than hoped.


Arkayb33 t1_jacow3w wrote

The documentary on HBOmax was pretty good.

One part, they talk about how the engineers had to fiddle with the inner bits of the machine while it was running and risk getting stabbed by the needles inside the machine that were splattered with client blood samples.


LampshadeThis t1_jacrico wrote

Who is the Elizabeth Holmes behind this project?


Rounder057 t1_jadb7wp wrote

Can I still get my prostrate exam?!


fluorescentpuppy t1_jadbgfq wrote

This isn't remotely new or novel. Its just another microfluidic device in the sea of microfluidic device research for liquid biopsies. There's hundreds of these papers published everyday, and eventual marketable product and mainstream use is years of development away from an industrial viewpoint.

Source: worked on microfluidic devices through grad school for disease detection. Currently work for a liquid biopsy company for cancer diagnosis.


HapticSloughton t1_jadc03y wrote

Yet another medical advance that won't be remotely affordable to most Americans because our healthcare system is slaved to capitalism and the whims of people whose bonuses rely on denying care.


Suthek t1_jadc87w wrote

Wouldn't this only work if the cancer had already metastasized? Otherwise there wouldn't be cancer cells in the blood (unless it's blood cancer).


mailslot t1_jadcpro wrote

Tech like this has been around for a few years, and companies with machinery already exist.


SaltZookeepergame691 t1_jadcrv4 wrote

This is a long way from any clinical use.

This is the paper:

They aren't actually assessing how good it is as a tool to detect cancer, or monitor response to treatment: most of the paper is demonstrating that the device can analyse metabolic features of a lot of individual cells extracted from (mouse) blood at once - and it seems it can spot cancer cells that are in the blood. But being able to spot mouse cancer cells when you know there is a cancer is a long way from giving someone a blood test to spot cancer. This will be very dependent both on how sensitive and specific any test is, and how frequent the cancers are in the target populations (eg, is it the general population, or those with symptoms, or those at high-risk, or recurrent settings, etc).


chicagoK t1_jadcv8w wrote

A similar technology, developed over 7 years ago, is already being marketed. GRAIL


odd84 t1_jadjjhn wrote

Its usage like this dates back to early bulletin board systems, MUDs (text-only MMOs), and AOL chat rooms. It's a convention from those on the internet in the 1970s-1990s. You'd use it to separate actions from dialogue when chatting or roleplaying.


SerialStateLineXer t1_jadlscb wrote

Cells produce molecules which circulate in the blood, so you don't have to wait for circulating cancer cells. The tricky part is finding molecular signatures that identify cancer with high sensitivity and specificity.

For example, elevated prostate-specific antigen is a sign of something wonky going on in the prostate, which may be cancer, but also may not.

Edit: See responses. This comment isn't relevant to this particular device, which actually looks for cancer cells in the blood.


Beerasaurus t1_jadu8p4 wrote

Just don’t call it Theranos 2. People might get suspicious


Cyber-Cafe t1_jadvszs wrote

I genuinely thought we were already able to do that. Crazy how far medical science has come, but how far we still have to go.


[deleted] t1_jadvwcg wrote

The cool thing about microfluidic devices such as this is that they are super easy and inexpensive to make. Like anyone could make this in their garage with about $1000 worth of equipment, or a $50 membership to a makerspace.


[deleted] t1_jady8mw wrote

No it literally is not.

Microfluidics is a huge, important field of research that is bringing the cost of care down by an order of magnitude and elevating the quality of care in developing nations by another order of magnitude.


reliableshot t1_jadyg5t wrote

Devices like these are there for decades. However, our ability to identify molecules that could be targeted and would be able to give us definitive answers- aren't. Sometimes when it is known patient has cancer, but biopsy is not preferable or possible, blood tests for circulating cells, circulating tumor DNA are performed. This does not work well with specific tumors that don't normally leak into blood.

Sorry for long one. Basically, there's still long way to go when it comes to using something like this for detection.


kingpubcrisps t1_jadzzqr wrote

It is available now.


>CellMate® is a modular diagnostic platform for cancer detection and biomarker analysis. Our next generation liquid biopsy isolates circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from peripheral blood across cancer diagnoses and tumor stages. CTCs are further quantified and categorized by protein expression and genomic variants.


T3chm0f0 t1_jae0ocv wrote

Theranos 2.0? Is that you?!?


DieSchadenfreude t1_jae1tfk wrote

The only time I can see this going wrong is some cancers are miniscule and die out on their own. The test probably isn't that sensitive though. That and usually the reason the cancer cells die out and don't spread is a lack of access to blood anyway.


snoopervisor t1_jae2egt wrote

The title specifically says cancer cells. And that's what the article is about: "Managing cancer through the assessment of tumour cells in blood samples is far less invasive than taking tissue biopsies."

Looks like it's for people who went to the doctor a bit too late. The method only makes their tests a bit less painful.


Princessferfs t1_jae3c2w wrote

Isn’t that basically what the CA-125 test is? That’s been around for ages.


mrbrambles t1_jae4eqo wrote

Eh, it would if the oil constantly bathed every piece of the mechanics like blood does. Blood is the delivery system for payloads around the body. Cancer is going to metastasize either through the blood system or the lymph system (which dumps into the blood system).

Basically it’s more like setting up a DUI checkpoint to capture drunk drivers. Not going to catch them all, but if you set them up in the right places at the right time you’ll find some and learn you have a problem.


mrbrambles t1_jae4wb3 wrote

How do the metastatic cells travel to other sites in the body to metastasize? Blood or lymph systems. Sentinel lymph nodes and blood are ways to possibly monitor the shedding of metastatic cells, but won’t tell you where the end up. A cancer that isn’t shedding metastatic cells is much more treatable than one that is pumping cells into the circulatory system.


mrbrambles t1_jae5ctj wrote

Metastasis is, theoretically, when circulating cells embed in new areas. If you already have a secondary metastasis, it’s too late. This could potentially be a way to better determine if a cancerous tumor is still isolated to one location, or if it’s starting to shed cells that will eventually become detectably large and embedded metastatic secondary tumors.


Cursory_Analysis t1_jaeb54q wrote

The concept of blood testing in general is plenty viable.

Theranos’ concept specifically as a bioengineering concept was actually not at all viable.

Every single person that looked at the product that they were peddling was saying “well, even in theory this isn’t possible to do”.


Kittentits1123 t1_jaebt4t wrote

If this makes cervical biopsies for women less horrific that'd be great. I still can't believe we have to get those without any anesthetic. "Just a little pinch" my lilly white ass.


Lambylambowski t1_jaee1d9 wrote

They will need to make this device ULTRA expensive to make up for the lost revenu.


Lambylambowski t1_jaeehkk wrote

What ever happened to the doc at MD Anderson that injected gold particles into tumors, hit them with basic radio waves and destroyed the tumor?

60 minutes did a thing a long time ago.

Why isn't that a treatment?


TBSchemer t1_jaeevpn wrote

This can be done much better with proteomics, or multiomics approaches.

With proteomics or multiomics, you don't need cells metastasized into the bloodstream. You only need secreted proteins and metabolic byproducts.

PrognomiQ is one company working on this.


Pirwzy t1_jaegp3a wrote

Only $20,000 per reading (probably)


scrapper t1_jaelwx1 wrote

If you have a suspicious looking radiographic finding in your breast or lung or liver eg, finding or not finding cancer on a blood tells does not obviate the need for an invasive biopsy of that density.


Karraten t1_jaens75 wrote

Coming soon to a hospital near you for the low low price of $150,000 per minute


rocket_randall t1_jaeo68z wrote

A boutique genetics company I used to work for was researching and fundraising off the same idea. The way the director of bioinformatics at that job described it to me as akin to tapping into the sewer line for a small city and from a random sample being able to ascertain whether or not anyone in the city ate natto the previous evening, and even then it's another matter entirely to identify in which home the natto was eaten. He was highly skeptical of it ever delivering the claimed results without some major advancement in technology, and every one of these press releases seems more or less the same as what I was reading internally almost a decade ago. Then again I am just a software guy and not someone with training or expertise in this field.


zombiefied t1_jaep9lq wrote

I thought this was already possible for prostate cancer?


ben7337 t1_jaexebz wrote

What are the hurdles to a mainstream/mass producible product to enable this sort of technology? The article here says they have a device that can be used in clinical settings which they are parenting and planning to commercialize, though I suppose plenty of battery tech that never comes to fruition also likely goes through similar steps. However as a layperson it's not really clear what if anything is stopping something like this. Would you mind providing some insight into this?


harryoe t1_jaexyqe wrote

There are already some microfluidic devices approved and for sale today. It's unfortunate how bad of a reputation the field has since there have been many fraudulent products which use the concept (notably theranos)


Ronbergs t1_jaf3ym9 wrote

We are promised a very bright future if we can get corruption out of our governments and fix our systems.


ksknksk t1_jaf468k wrote

I mean, yeah?

It’s the motivation for the research, so other papers doing similar research on the same overall topic (mfd) would have essentially the same motivation (or at least partly if there are other driving factors)?