CTC test inventor coming to Australia

Wednesday, 26 November, 2014

Professor Katharina Pachmann, the inventor of a simple blood test which utilises circulating epithelial tumour cells (CTCs) to monitor the activity of cancer, will be presenting at a number of events in Australia and New Zealand in early December. The laboratory method, called Maintrac, has been critically validated and is used internationally by oncologists, cancer clinics, hospitals and universities.

From the time malignant tumours have reached a size of 1-2 mm, they release thousands of malignant cells into the circulatory system. The more aggressive of these cells survive and circulate in the bloodstream as CTCs - cells responsible for spreading to another site in the body and forming a secondary cancer known as a metastasis. In solid tumours such as breast and prostate cancer, these metastases are fatal.

Until now, it has been impossible to predict how any individual patient may respond to cancer treatment and very difficult to monitor minute changes in cancer aggressiveness. But using Maintrac, a CTC count is taken before, during and after treatment to reveal whether the treatment is working or not. A decrease in cell numbers can be an indication that the treatment is working, while an increase suggests CTC resistance. At this point, the practitioner has an opportunity to review the treatment plan.

Professor Pachmann is based in Germany but will be in Australia to present at the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) conference in Melbourne on 2 December. She will also be co-presenting seminars to over 100 medical practitioners and oncologists in Sydney (1 December), the Gold Coast (3 December), Melbourne (4 December) and Auckland (7 December).

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