Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. Comprehensive analysis of genomes has the potential to inform precise prostate cancer treatments. However, a major challenge of prostate cancer genomic analysis is the inaccessibility of metastatic tissue. Circulating tumour cells (CTCs) offer great potential as an alternative source of genetic material, which would enable the identification of the relevant mutations and aberrations that define prostate cancer subtypes.
Despite the tremendous potential of CTC genomics, there has been little progress in genotyping CTCs. This is due to the rarity of CTCs and their genetically heterogeneous population. Current methodologies have overcome this limitation by performing single-cell sequencing. However, existing methods for single-cell isolation require precise manipulations using contaminant-free tools, which are either extremely difficult to perform or are associated with unacceptable cell loss.
Dr. Choi’s research will look to develop a new method to rapidly target and select single CTCs based on their phenotypic profile. This method would enable both in situ immunostaining and single cell sequencing, which would provide important insights when interpreting data from genetic analysis.
The results of this research could be significantly beneficial in the development of personalized therapy, evaluation of anti-cancer drugs, and surveillance for disease recurrence.