Vortex Biosciences Inventor Receives Presidential Award for Research Leading to Groundbreaking "Liquid Biopsy" Technique

Mar 01, 2016, 07:22 ET from Vortex Biosciences

MENLO PARK, Calif., March 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- President Obama has tapped Vortex Biosciences co-founder and chief scientific advisor Professor Dino Di Carlo as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the company announced today. Di Carlo received the award for developing a fundamental approach to manipulate cells within fluids, which has led to a first-of-its-kind technique to quickly separate rare and information-rich circulating tumor cells from common blood cells. This innovation has profound implications for early diagnosis of cancer and precision medicine development.

The award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government to scientists early in their careers.

"We couldn't be prouder to see Dino's dedication and innovation recognized by a presidential administration that has issued such bold challenges as calling for a cancer cure 'moonshot,'" stated Gene Walther, Vortex Biosciences CEO. "We believe his innovative technology will enable far-reaching solutions for humanity."

Di Carlo's discovery underlies the technology behind Vortex Biosciences, which was formed in 2012 to commercialize the new technique for numerous applications, such as diagnosis, treatment selection and monitoring, new compound discovery and development, and next generation sequencing.

A pivotal moment for Di Carlo's innovation

In an age where diseases such as cancer, diabetes and a host of chronic illnesses have become global epidemics, Di Carlo's discovery transforms clinical research for diagnosis and treatment. Di Carlo has pioneered a new field, "Inertial Microfluidics," that directly disproves a long-held scientific belief that the momentum of fluid was not significant or useful at very small scales. The Vortex technology leverages these effects to capture live tumor cells at high rates from blood in microscale "whirlpools."

Isolating live tumor cells from billions of other blood cells is a task very much like the proverbial search for the needle in the haystack. To diagnose disease and conduct other research activities, clinicians and clinical researchers typically rely on performing painful, disfiguring and sometimes even fatal biopsies, with very mixed results.

Di Carlo's far less invasive process, referred to as a "liquid biopsy," works at unprecedented speed and precision to find and sort live tumor cells. Using the technique, clinical researchers can vastly speed up and lower costs of disease diagnosis and selection of therapies personalized to a patient.

"I'm particularly thankful to my team members whose valuable contributions enabled my work," stated Professor Di Carlo. "It is extremely rewarding to see the fundamental ideas and lab experiments recognized by this award now translating to real-life cell separation products by the team at Vortex Biosciences."

Di Carlo is Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, Los Angeles where he directs the Microfluidic Biotechnology Laboratory. He is also Director of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center – Cancer Nanotechnology Program Area, and a member of the California NanoSystems Institute.

He has received numerous honors, including the U.S. National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award, Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, Packard Fellowship, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Young Faculty Award, National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award, and the Coulter Translational Research Award.

In addition to the Presidential Award, Di Carlo's work in Inertial Microfluidics is also being honored by the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, which recently announced his pending induction to its College of Fellows for revolutionizing the biotechnology of cell separation.

About Vortex Biosciences Inc.
Vortex Biosciences is a cancer diagnostic instrument company developing the Vortex VTX-1 bench top instrument, which runs a simplified, high-speed blood test for a wide range of metastatic cancers. The instrument harvests live circulating tumor cells from patient blood samples for use in downstream clinical applications such as monitoring disease progression and drug treatment effectiveness. The Company will sell laboratory instruments along with single use cartridges for each blood sample. For more information, visit www.vortexbiosciences.com.

About NetScientific
NetScientific is the parent company of Vortex Biosciences, and a biomedical and healthcare technology group that funds and develops technologies that offer transformative benefits to society through improved diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Learn more at www.netscientific.net. 

Media Contact:
Stephanie Janard
Amendola Communications for Vortex Biosciences


SOURCE Vortex Biosciences