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Final Agenda 


Circulating Tumor Cells 

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Download Brochure 

Recommended Pre-Conference Short Courses *  

(SC1) HTS-Based Biomarker Discovery   

(SC4) Identification, Characterization and Targeting of Cancer Stem Cells  

* Separate Registration Required. 

Wednesday, February 23 

7:00 am Registration and Morning Coffee

8:00 Plenary Keynotes - Details 

9:40 Grand Opening Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall



11:00 Conference Chair’s Opening Remarks

Avraham Rasooly, Ph.D., Program Director, Cancer Diagnosis Program, NCI

11:05 Chairperson's Remarks

Leon TerstappenLeon W. M. M. Terstappen, M.D., Ph.D., Chair, Medical Cell BioPhysics, MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine, University of Twente 



11:10 Biology and Clinical Relevance of Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC)

Klaus PantelKlaus Pantel, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Institute of Tumor Biology, UKE, Hamburg, Germany

Detection and molecular characterization of circulating tumor cells (CTC) in the peripheral blood provide new insights into the complex biology of metastasis in cancer patients. This information can be used for (a) estimation of the risk for metastatic relapse or metastatic progression (prognostic information), (b) stratification and real-time monitoring of systemic therapies, and (c) identification of therapeutic targets and resistance mechanisms

11:40 High Yield Isolation of Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC) and Protocols for Molecular Diagnosis

Marek MaleckiMarek Malecki, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Genetics, Genomics, and Gene Therapy, Western University of Health Sciences

For evaluation of cancer progression, remission, or relapse, molecular imaging, histopathology, and serum analysis are the main clinical pursuits. However, they are often insufficient. Diagnostic analysis of circulating tumor cells (CTC) may provide important insights into the ever changing molecular footprints of metastasizing cancer cells. To pursue this endeavor, we have developed a nanotechnology to attain the high yield purification of CTC from the cancer patients’ blood and refined protocols for the characterization of their genomic and proteomic profiles.


12:10 pm Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transitions and Circulating Tumor Cells

Christine GillesChristine Gilles, Ph.D., Laboratory of Tumor and Developmental Biology, Liège University

Epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT) processes endow epithelial tumor cells with enhanced migratory/invasive properties and are therefore likely to contribute to the generation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs). We will review data validating the implication of EMT processes in CTC formation and will present animal models with transplantable human breast tumor cells to help characterizing EMT/CTC relationships.


12:40 Luncheon Presentations (Sponsorship Opportunities Available) or Lunch on Your Own

1:45 Dessert in the Exhibit Hall

2:20 Morphologic and Morphometric Characterization of Circulating Tumor Cells in Carcinoma Patients

Peter KuhnPeter Kuhn, Ph.D., Scripps Physics Oncology Center, The Scripps Research Institute

We have established a fluid phase biopsy approach that identifies circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the context of peripheral blood leukocytes, with no protein-based enrichment, and presents them in sufficiently high definition (HD) to satisfy diagnostic pathology image quality requirements.  We refer to this technique as the HD-CTC assay and report on the use of this methodology to characterize the incidence of HD-CTCs in peripheral blood samples from a small cohort of metastatic cancer patients, including those with prostate cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, along with set of normal controls. Importantly, we find HD-CTC clusters ranging from 2 HD-CTCs to greater than 30 HD-CTCs in the majority of the cancer patients in this cohort. As a case study, one patient was followed over time and both cytology from a solid tumor metastasis and the HD-CTCs were quantitatively characterized. This initial validation of an enrichment-free assay demonstrates the ability to identify significant numbers of HD-CTCs in a majority of patients in prostate, breast and pancreatic cancers.  


2:45 Chairperson's Remarks

Leon TerstappenLeon W. M. M. Terstappen, M.D., Ph.D., Chair, Medical Cell BioPhysics, MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine, University of Twente 




2:50 Circulating Tumor Cells in Patients Undergoing Surgery for Hepatic Metastases from Colorectal Cancer

Pavlos PapavasiliouPavlos Papavasiliou, M.D., Surgical Oncology Fellow, Department of Surgical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are detectable using a commercially available assay in patients with hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer. CTC levels vary during the course of a patient’s treatment and these quantities may correlate with prognosis.


3:20 Circulating Tumor Cells as a Means to Identify Curable Patients with Metastatic Cancer

Daniel BoffaDaniel Boffa, M.D., Assistant Professor, Yale University School of Medicine, Section of Thoracic Surgery

Subsets of patients with metastatic cancer may be cured with aggressive therapy. Circulating tumors may identify patients most likely to be cured, as well as patients with a propensity for systemic failure. This information may be used to match patients with the most appropriate treatment strategy including combinations of local and systemic therapy.



Sponsored by
Alere SMALL 
3:50 Recent Advances in the Field of Molecular Characterization of CTCs
Siegfried Hauch, Chief Scientific Officer, AdnaGen 

4:20 Reception in the Exhibit Hall(Sponsorship Available) 

5:20 Break-Out Discussions in the Exhibit Hall

Concurrent Problem Solving Break-Out Sessions are interactive, problem solving discussions hosted by a moderator to discuss a topic in depth.  The discussions are open to all attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, and speakers and provide a forum for discussing key issues and meeting potential partners. Please pick a topic of your choice and join in. 

Techniques for Characterization of CTCs

Moderator: Richard Cote, M.D., FRCPath, Professor and Chair, Pathology; Directory , University of Miami Biomedical Nanoscience Institute, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

  • What are the current challenges and opportunities in techniques for characterizing CTC?
  • What are the critical characteristics needed for characterizing circulating tumor cells?
  • How should CTC characterization be included in designing clinical trials?

Molecular Profiling of CTCs

Moderator: Dave S. B. Hoon, Ph.D., Director, Molecular Oncology, John Wayne Cancer Institute

  • CTC Isolation approaches for quality and consistent detailed analysis of molecular phenotypes
  • How representative are the CTCs to patients’ tumor burden?
  • How relevant are the CTC profile to patient disease outcome and clinical stage?
  • Techniques useful for amplying DNA/RNA for small number of CTC.
  • When is the most relevant period during patient treatment should we profile CTCs?

Techniques for Characterization of CTCs

Moderator: Klaus Pantel, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Institute of Tumor Biology, UKE, Hamburg, Germany

  • Proteins (Multiple immunostainings, EpiSpot)
  • RNA (RT-PCR, expression profiling)
  • DNA (FISH, PCR, whole genome amplification, array-CGH)

Microfluidics for Selection and Enumeration of CTCs

Moderator: Steven Soper, Ph.D., Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering, Center for BioModular Multi-Scale Systems, Louisiana State University

  • Are the enumeration numbers from the Veridex CellSearch System actually the “TRUE” numbers of CTC frequencies found in peripheral blood of cancer patients?
  • What is the GOLD STANDARD; while the FDA has approved the Veridex System, does this really supply the actual numbers of CTCs found in patients?
  • Is seeding cell lines into “normal” blood viewed as a good standard for evaluating the development/performance of new technologies?
  • Is there a need to interrogate larger input volumes, especially if the Veridex System significantly underestimates the “TRUE” number of CTCs in a patient?
  • If no GOLD standards exists for CTC enumeration, how are new technologies going to make it through the FDA approval process?
  • If the actual CTC numbers are higher than those set by the Veridex system, then is it reasonable to consider using CTCs as a diagnostic marker as well?
  • • Is recovery and enumeration the only processes that warrant transitioning to microfluidics?
  • What about molecular profiling of CTCs using integrated systems that can recover the CTCs from clinical samples and then perform a molecular assay?
  • Morphological investigation of the CTCs may be important as well as looking for expression levels of certain markers to distinguish them from interfering cells (normal epithelial cells or WBCs). How can this be done without requiring sophisticated imaging equipment needed for imaging the entire selection bed?
  • What about the ability to culture the recovered CTCs for doing follow-up discovery-based investigations (do the cells remain viable following microfluidic selection)?
  • Costs of CTC recovery and enumeration per assay; what can/should microfluidics do to address this issue?
  • If the microfluidic is to be used for large-scale screening or monitoring for disease recurrence, the cost of the chip must be reduced to make this feasible. What is a viable cost per assay and what about the supporting peripherals to expand the utility of using this biomarker in the clinic?
  • For diagnostics and prognostics, one-time use devices are critical; should this guide the engineering of the microfluidic system?
  • What are important metrics for guiding the development and marketing new technologies; recovery (in a variety of different scenarios), simplicity of use, cost, or functionality (do more than just enumerate the CTCs)?
  • What about the recovery and enumeration of cancer stem cells?
  • Markers (positive selection), size selection, abundance, etc?
  • Utility of collecting cancer stem cells.
  • Transitioning these new microfluidic technologies (for rare cell selection) into other target areas.
  • Fetal nucleated red blood cells for molecular profiling unborn fetuses.
  • Bacterial infections.

6:20 Close of Day

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