Nanomedicine Revealing the many faces of genitourinary tumour cells using microfluidics

Genitourinary cancers, particularly prostate, bladder and renal cancers, are common, biologically heterogeneous and prone to recurrence. Their diagnosis normally relies on invasive methods, and when disseminated the successful eradication is rare. Thus, new methods aiming to increase sensitivity and specificity for identifying the tumour cells, or a subpopulation of cells most capable of establishing overt metastasis, may likely be crucial for early diagnosis, accurate prognosis and targeted therapies design. 

In order to overcome the limitations of traditional cytopathological examination in disease staging and follow-up, microfluidics devices are being developed for efficient and gentle isolation of all phenotypes of malignant cells directly from bladder washouts and/or urine of bladder cancer patients undergoing transurethral resection. Integration of these systems with sensitive biosensing technologies is expected to contribute to early cancer detection and better treatment follow-up, with impact on improved clinical management and cancer therapy.