(Fast-Track proposals will be accepted.)
Number of anticipated awards: 4
Budget (total costs):
Phase I: $300,000 for 9 months;
Phase II: $1,500,000 for 2 years
It is strongly suggested that proposals adhere to the above budget amounts and project periods. Proposals with budgets exceeding the above amounts and project periods may not be funded.
The deadline for receipt of all contract proposals submitted in response to this solicitation has expired. It was: November 13, 2012 by 5 p.m. EST.
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are cancer cells shed from either the primary tumor or its metastases and are circulating in the peripheral blood. While metastases are directly responsible for the majority of cancer deaths, CTCs may constitute seeds for metastases and may be instrumental for the spread of the disease. Many studies have shown that the presence of CTCs in peripheral blood or bone marrow is of prognostic significance in different types of solid tumors, and that the number and molecular changes of CTCs may help predict or monitor response to treatment. An increasing number of studies have shown large molecular and cellular heterogeneity of CTCs from the same types of cancer and even from CTCs from the same patient. This phenomenon has made the interpretation of cancer status very difficult. Current FDA-approved CTC analysis is based on immunological capture of CTCs by magnetic beads. This method does not capture all types of CTCs, and the recovery of the captured cells for subsequent molecular or cellular analysis is limited; hence, it is important to develop improved methodologies for CTC isolation that enable subsequent genomic, proteomic, or metabolomic analysis at the single cell level in order to understand the origin and role of these subpopulations of CTCs in cancer progression and treatment response. Enabling CTC analysis at the single-cell level will significantly contribute to cancer research and the selection of treatment options for patients based on changes in CTC numbers and molecular characteristics before and during treatment.
The long-term goal of the project is to integrate new or established technologies to enable molecular characterization and analysis of individual CTCs isolated from blood or bone marrow. An ideal system will be a modular platform combining a CTC capture and separation module with several other modules for downstream molecular analysis such as genomic, metabolomic, proteomic and mutation analysis at the individual cell level. Non-modular systems will also be acceptable. The short-term goal is to demonstrate the technical viability of the proposed technology to isolate and analyze CTCs at the single-cell level in an experimental setting. If molecular analysis is not performed with the proposed device, a detailed description about compatible downstream analysis technology(/ies), including manufacturers and model numbers, is required.
Acceptable studies include but are not limited to:
CTC isolation and enrichment technologies such as magnetic separation, microfluidics, size separation, and negative or positive selection
Integrated CTC devices which combine CTC capture and molecular analysis
Viable CTC cell isolation and/or culturing for treatment assessment
Low-cost multichannel scanning, imaging, flow cytometry, spectral analysis or equivalent technologies for CTC molecular analysis with the potential to combine with innovative single-cell isolation (e.g. micro dissection)
Non-separation-based technologies for CTCs that enable molecular analysis