Exciting change is on the way! Please join us at nsf.gov for the latest news on NSF-funded research. While the NSF Science360 page and daily newsletter have now been retired, there’s much happening at nsf.gov. You’ll find current research news on the homepage and much more to explore throughout the site. Best of all, we’ve begun to build a brand-new website that will bring together news, social media, multimedia and more in a way that offers visitors a rich, rewarding, user-friendly experience.

Want to continue to receive email updates on the latest NSF research news and multimedia content? On September 23rd we’ll begin sending those updates via GovDelivery. If you’d prefer not to receive them, please unsubscribe now from Science360 News and your email address will not be moved into the new system.

Thanks so much for being part of the NSF Science360 News Service community. We hope you’ll stay with us during this transition so that we can continue to share the many ways NSF-funded research is advancing knowledge that transforms our future.

For additional information, please contact us at NewsTravels@nsf.gov

Top Story

Sound waves could provide 'liquid biopsies'

Using sound waves, researchers have developed a gentle, contact-free method for separating circulating tumor cells from blood samples that is fast and efficient enough for clinical use. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are small pieces of a tumor that break away and flow through the bloodstream. They contain a wealth of information about the tumor, such as its type, physical characteristics and genetic mutations that are associated with prognosis and whether certain treatments may be effective. The ability to quickly and efficiently harvest and grow these cells from a blood sample would enable "liquid biopsies" capable of providing robust diagnosis, prognosis and suggestions for treatment strategies based on individual CTC profiling. CTCs are, however, extremely rare and difficult to catch. There are typically only a handful for every few billion blood cells running through a patient's veins. And while there are many technologies designed to separate them from normal blood cells, none of them are perfect. They tend to damage or kill the CTCs in the process, lack efficiency, only work on specific types of cancer, or take far too long to be used in many situations. In a new study, National Science Foundation-funded researchers from demonstrate a platform based on sound waves capable of separating CTCs from a 7.5-mL vial of blood with at least 86 percent efficiency in less than an hour. With additional improvements, the researchers hope the technology will form the basis of a new test through an inexpensive, disposable chip.

Visit Website | Image credit: Duke University