Tourism isn’t the only industry eager to benefit from the relaxing of the decades-long trade embargo against Cuba. Medical researchers on both of sides of the Straits of Florida now have the chance to collaborate with previously off-limits colleagues. Of particular interest to the U.S. is a Cuban lung cancer drug that took 25 years to develop.
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are a rare type of cancer cell that are found in the blood stream of patients with localized tumors. Successful separation of CTCs from blood could serve as a liquid biopsy to help diagnose cancer and monitor treatment progress. A deeper understanding of CTCs could also lead to a better understanding of the most deadly cancer process: metastasis, where cancer cells leave established tumors and migrate to other locations in the body.