Welcome to the Nagrath Lab

We are developing microfluidic devices for isolating and studying circulating tumor cells (CTCs) as related to metastasis, the cause of over 90% of cancer related deaths.

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are rare cells shed from the primary tumor that can be found in the blood stream. To isolate them is an elusive goal: they are present at a frequency of as low as only one CTC in one billion blood cells. However, it is these target cells that may provide clinically useful answers to questions such as "what cells are capable of metastasis?" and "how do we stop them?"

We use microfluidic devices to detect CTCs in the blood, characterize the cell populations that are able to spread, and study the microenvironmental cues needed to sustain and grow tumor metastases. Through a wide variety of separation techniques and materials, we are making strides towards understanding the biology behind tumor metastasis and using CTCs as a prognostic tool in the clinical setting