Cancer diagnoses are often named on the basis of their origin. In fact, most cancers are chronic diseases spread throughout the body. Even when primary tumors are surgically removed and a patient is in remission, a single residual, dormant disseminated tumor cell (DTC’s) can cause relapse and metastatic disease.2-4
Today, most cancer therapies target pathways defined in primary tumors and do so with variable, but limited long-term success. The vast majority of patients who ultimately succumb to their cancer do so because of metastasis.
Metastatic disease often emerges years or decades following successful surgery or adjuvant treatment. The ability to identify and eliminate DTCs represents a significant opportunity to prevent cancer relapse and metastasis.
HiberCell is focused on better defining the prevalence of dormant DTCs across several tumor types via a relationship-based collaborative effort that will focus on detecting, isolating, and annotating these cells from patient material.
Research to date indicates that DTCs are identifiable through a shared origin and could therefore be detectable via biopsy.12-18
We are leveraging the HiberCell platform to detect novel biomarkers of genetic alterations in dormant DTCs obtained from cancer patients. Through the use of these biomarkers and dormant cell genetics, we are defining the distinguishing characteristics of disseminated DTCs.