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Battelle Secures Patent
October 20, 2006

A patent was issued on July 11, 2006 to Battelle for the Buffy Coat Tube and Float System and Method, invented by Thomas Haubert of Battelle Medical Device Solutions and Stephen Wardlaw of Yale University, as an integral part of their low-cost rare cell detection technology.

Haubert and Wardlaw developed the Buffy Coat Tube and Float to provide visual access to rare cells (such as circulating cancer cells) by expanding the buffy coat–a series of thin, light-colored layers of white blood cells that form between red cells and plasma when unclotted blood is centrifuged for testing.

A simple blood draw is all that is required of the patient. Detecting rare cells in whole blood could be important to the diagnosis and treatment of several types of cancer including lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal. In addition, it might help in determining the viral load of HIV and Hepatitis C. According to Dr. Wardlaw, “The advancement of the science of medicine is in large part based upon the development of new means of measurement. This invention greatly simplifies the detection and enumeration of actual cancer cells circulating in the blood. Recent studies have shown this may be an important advance in detecting and staging cancer, as well as showing response to chemotherapy.” The rare cell detection technology, including an early prototype device and all associated patents, is available for license.

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