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Antibody-free method for Counting All Circulating TUmour cellS while maintaining them alive and intact

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 A CACTUS project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the A CACTUS project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "A CACTUS" about.

sensitive    ip    epithelial    sites    feasibility    proof    circulating    count    probing    display    presented    cactus    detects    inexpensive    aerobic    business    antibody    cytosol    mesenchymal    colon    outcome    alive    intact    induce    veridex    maintaining    oil    90    liter    commercialisation    droplets    portfolio    detection    deaths    labelling    counting    stream    treatment    approved    enter    water    final    critical    micro    plan    ctc    progression    ctcs    isolate    emulsions    cancer    attractive    dyes    bladder    metastatic    showed    environmental    consisting    influence    detected    cellsearch    separating    fluidic    assays    rate    lung    provides    pico    blood    proposition    characterising    gastric    volume    metabolic    obvious    meant    detecting    cells    prostate    correctly    ph    warburg    metastases    microenvironment    commercialising    sorting    instead    effect    idea    tumour    lactate    glycolysis    patient    enzymatic    fda    diagnostic    proper    breast    responsible    strategy    surrounding    investors   

Project "A CACTUS" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: VIA PALLADIO 8
city: UDINE
postcode: 33100

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Italy [IT]
 Total cost 149˙875 €
 EC max contribution 149˙875 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2014-PoC
 Funding Scheme ERC-POC
 Starting year 2015
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2015-04-01   to  2016-09-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI UDINE IT (UDINE) coordinator 149˙875.00


 Project objective

The problem: Cancer metastases are responsible for 90% of cancer-associated deaths. Circulating tumour cells (CTCs) that enter the blood stream on their way to potential metastatic sites are of obvious interest to evaluate correctly patient treatment and therefore influence outcome. CTCs have been identified in bladder, gastric, prostate, lung, breast and colon cancer. The only FDA approved CTCs detection system is Veridex’ CellSearch, which detects only epithelial cancer cells using antibody labelling. Recent evidence showed that non-epithelial cancer cells, which are not detected by CellSearch, are of critical importance in cancer progression.

The idea: Our CTC detection method is based, instead of on antibody labelling, on metabolic features of cancer cells, thus providing potential for detecting both epithelial and mesenchymal cancer cells. Cancer cells induce environmental changes; e.g. in aerobic conditions most cancer cells display a high rate of glycolysis with lactate production in the cytosol, known as the Warburg effect. By separating cells into micro-droplets of pico-liter volume using micro-fluidic water-in-oil emulsions and by characterising the microenvironment surrounding them, CTCs are detected by probing for environmental changes using pH sensitive dyes or enzymatic lactate assays. Our inexpensive diagnostic method provides a way to count and isolate CTCs without any labelling while maintaining cells alive and intact for further studies.

The project: “A CACTUS” is meant to assess the feasibility of commercialising the developed method for counting and sorting CTCs and develop a proper commercialisation strategy. The final goal of this project is to develop a proposition package consisting of technical proof of concept, the business proposition and strategy and an IP portfolio and strategy. This information will be presented in an attractive business plan that will be proposed to potential investors.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2016 Fabio Del Ben, Matteo Turetta, Giorgia Celetti, Aigars Piruska, Michela Bulfoni, Daniela Cesselli, Wilhelm T. S. Huck, Giacinto Scoles
A Method for Detecting Circulating Tumor Cells Based on the Measurement of Single-Cell Metabolism in Droplet-Based Microfluidics
published pages: 8581-8584, ISSN: 1433-7851, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201602328
Angewandte Chemie International Edition 55/30 2019-07-23

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