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Cote Lab

Capture and Analysis of Circulating Tumor Cells

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Investigator / Contact Person Richard Cote


Dr. Cote's lab fosters a wide breadth of diverse interdisciplinary research projects in pathology, cancer, and nanotechnology. Notable projects include:

Bladder Cancer Molecular Pathogenesis and Response to Therapy
As an internationally recognized expert on molecular pathways of tumor progression and response to therapy, Dr. Cote and his team have made groundbreaking discoveries in bladder cancer research. The lab was among the first to show that alterations in the p53 pathway are associated with the genesis of invasive urothelial cancer (UC). They demonstrated the role of p21, pRb, and angiogenesis in bladder cancer progression, and further showed that Rb function could be lost through deletion of the gene or through hyperphosphorylation. They also examined if alterations in molecular pathways could supplement TNM staging to more accurately predict clinical outcome in patients with urothelial carcinoma (UC).

Occult Metastases in Early Stage Cancer
Dr. Cote's contribution to cancer metastasis research through analysis of lymph node and bone marrow occult metastases has led to increasing incorporation of these occult tumor cells as biomarkers in routine clinical practice leasing to improved cancer patient management.

CTC in Patients with Cancer
Dr. Cote's research team has developed a novel parylene C-based microfilter platform to capture circulating tumor cells (CTC) directly from cancer patient blood. This platform was developed in collaboration with their colleagues at Caltech and has resulted in a series of publications, and have undergone extensive analysis in a growing number of clinical trials. In addition, the lab has developed various geometrical architectures for the CTC capture microfilter (slot pore, bi-layers, etc.) which permit viable capture of CTC directly from patient blood with high efficiency and have demonstrated that the same parylene C microfilter platform for CTC capture can also be used as analytic platform for various molecular assays. 

They are also defining ways to utilize CTC analysis as a 'liquid biopsy' to manage cancer patients better. Successful molecular characterization of CTC can not only help diagnose cancer recurrence early, it can also help determine efficacy of treatment through longitudinal patient monitoring in real time.

Biomedical Nanotechnology: Development of Novel Nanosensing Technologies
The Cote lab has developed a series of evolving technologies to detect multiple biomarkers, using a single drop of blood, in a single step and without the use of labels or secondary reagents. These technologies are truly transformative, and represent a paradigm shift in detection of important biological molecules, including cancer markers, specific DNA and RNA sequences, site specific DNA methylation, and infectious diseases.

Development of Human Monoclonal Antibodies and Human Hybridomas and Characterization of Human Immune Repertoire
Dr. Cote's lab was the first to create stable hybridomas producing human monoclonal antibodies (hMAb). The research group fused human lymphocytes from lymph node, peripheral blood, spleen, and tumor specimens with the LICR-LON-HMy2 (LICR-2) or SKO-007 human cell lines or the NS-1 mouse myeloma line.