Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) are shed from the primary tumor into peripheral blood and are responsible of the spreading of cancer to other parts of the body, called metastasis. The analysis of CTCs, called liquid biopsy, enables noninvasive continuous monitoring of cancer through a blood test. The phenotypic analysis of cancer cells in the epithelialmesenchymal transition (EMT) axis is very important to predict disease aggressiveness and resistance to therapy, but this has not yet been done in CTCs, since available technologies for CTC isolation are dependant on immuno-recognition and only separate one type of CTCs which are of the less agressive type (epithelial). We have developed a microfluidic system that provides efficient and fast isolation of all types of CTCs directly from the whole blood samples, without the need of any pre-processing. This microfluidic chip allows for the collection of high resolution images of all CTCs in situ, which enables the entire automation of the processing and analysis method, minimising user- dependence. We have demonstrated the superior performance of this technology when compared to competing devices via two main pre-clinical trials. We were able to predict cancer progression 6 months to 1 year earlier than available technologies and selected successfully the patient populations as candidates for targeted therapy. This project aims at testing our microfluidic technology in a cohort of 70 breast cancer (BC) patients to evaluate the prognostic value of EMT characterisation in CTCs. In this way, we would provide the oncologists with a tool offering personalised therapy insights to treat their patients. In sum, the technology developed by INL facilitates more frequent monitoring (even at a daily basis), earlier and more precise diagnosis (6 months – 1 year earlier) and enables successful personalised medicine by decreasing an estimated 40 % of the costs for the public healthcare system.

Total Eligible Budget

299,420.00 €

INL Eligible Budget

299,420.00 €

Total Funding

299,420.00 €

INL Funding

299,420.00 €

Start Date


End Date


Grant Agreement Id


Funding Framework

La Caixa Foundation

INL Role