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Single cell proteomics for studying circulating tumor cells and monitor disease progression on breast cancer patients


"The planned research is aimed at the proteomic analysis at single cell level for circulating tumor cells (CTCs), as these cells shed from the primary tumor site and are identified in transit within the bloodstream of cancer patients with metastatic degree of the disease. The proposed work have an highly multidisciplinar approach to engage the central challenge of our proposal, combining proteomic analysis, microfluidic antibody capture chips and a ‘full optical’ platform which accounts for cell manipulation, cell lysis and protein’s quantification with a level of sensitivity down to proteins copy number. Milestone of the project in carrying out analysis at single cell level, is the comprehensive proteomic study of cell-to-cell variations for the expression of cancer biomarkers, which ultimately led to the heterogeneity, complexity and evolution at phenotypic level of the disease.
By the analysis of circulating tumour cells isolated from the peripheral blood of breast cancer patients, we will focus the attention on the quantification of the free form of estrogen receptor and its phoshpotypes, as a unvaluable biomarker directly involved in cellular proliferation and actually targeted by endocrine therapies in clinical practice. Thus, estrogen receptor will be embedded in a platform for multiplex proteomic analysis at single cell level with other four biomarkers. Information achieved by analysis of CTCs will be directly correlate with the status of cells at primary tumor site and the overall status of the disease.
Results are expected to provide new insights into tumour cell biology and will offer a new non-invasive tool to monitor the evolution and the progression of the disease, as well the response to therapies during treatment and follow-up of patients."

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/proteins/proteomics
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/cell biology
  • /medical and health sciences/clinical medicine/cancer/breast cancer

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MC-IEF - Intra-European Fellowships (IEF)


South Kensington Campus Exhibition Road
SW7 2AZ London
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 200 371,80
Administrative Contact
Brooke Alasya (Ms.)