National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded a three-year $3m grant to Advanced Cell Diagnostics (ACD), under its SBIR Phase II Bridge Award to support ACD's proprietary CTCscope system development.

The CTCscope system is capable of automatic detection and molecular characterisation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), ACD said.

ACD will work with a multidisciplinary team from four institutions to further advance CTCscope into an automated system and conduct clinical studies to demonstrate its clinical utility.

ACD president and CEO Yuling Luo said that they are grateful for the continued support from NCI. The previous Phase I and Phase II grants have helped ACD to develop the underlying RNAscope technology, which has since been translated successfully into Research Use Only products for in situ detection of RNA biomarkers in FFPE samples.

“Given how few of these grants are given, the award is a further validation of the strength of our technology to uniquely fulfill a critical unmet clinical need in cancer management,” Luo said.