Scientists in the U.S. and other private companies are looking forward to developing a test that would help identify any single stray cancer cell in the human bloodstream. This is in the hopes that one day, it would be easier to determine the needs of a therapy and make it easier as well to identify which treatment would be more effective.

The said test will be focusing on circulating tumor cells or CTCs which are cancer cells that have been isolated from the main tumor and are moving freely to other parts of the body.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have already developed a microfluidic chip in 2007 that they call CellSearch. This helps in counting the number of stray cancer cells. However, it didn’t allow scientists to trap the cells for analysis.

Last Monday, Mass General made an announcement that it had an agreement with Veridex LLC, part of Johnson & Johnson, to develop a newer version of the test. It has been noted that only a couple of teaspoon of blood is necessary to have the test updated.

The update will be done by dotting the microchip with tiny posts full of antibodies which are designed to stick to tumor cells. And as blood passes the chip, the tumor cells will be separated from the pack and will be stuck to the post. The researchers believe that if this type of test becomes successful, it would become helpful in detecting cancer early on.