Cellrace – toolkit for advanced cancer diagnosis

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Its danger lies in metastatic spread of tumor cells in the body, causing 90% of all deaths. Today, tools aiming to detect cancer metastasis are based on biomarkers, which are only found in subsets of tumors and cannot truly assess if cancer will spread. CellRACE is a new diagnostic tool that can determine the level of tumor invasiveness and evaluate risk of metastasis, irrespective of tumor type.

Metastasis is a process where tumor cells acquire invasive properties, move out of the original tumor and migrate throughout the body. These invasive cells colonize other organs, leaving such cancers untreatable.

The essential aspect in preventing metastasis is to discover the invasive potential of the tumor as early as possible and immediately start appropriate treatment. Current diagnostic methods are unable to evaluate metastasis, thus patients get uniform, often unsuited treatments. This causes adverse impact on patients’ physical and mental health as well as increased economic burden to the society.

Our product is based on assessing cell motility, a physical property common to all invasive tumors, which directly reflects their metastatic potential. Moreover, our tool is also useful during therapy. CellRACE can test for optimal chemotherapy, and can determine the best drug combination to inhibit tumor invasiveness in each individual case. After successful treatment CellRACE can also help in follow-up monitoring for tumor relapse.

Modern medicine evolves towards personalized medicine (individual therapeutic approach) since every patient responds differently to treatment. CellRACE is a simple method allowing effective assessment of each case individually. As such, CellRACE exemplifies the next-generation diagnostic tool for patient-tailored, precision-based medical treatment.



Project leader: Michael Andäng, Karolinska Institutet, michael.andang@ki.se

Funding from SWElife: 1 500 000 SEK

Call for proposal: SWElife 2015 open call for “Predictive or prognostic biomarkers in tumour diseases”

About the project at Vinnova (in Swedish)