SINGAPORE and Santa Monica, Calif., Nov. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The John Wayne Cancer Institute (JWCI) at the St. Johns Health Center, Providence Health Systems in Santa Monica California and Singapore-based Clearbridge BioMedics today announced a research partnership to establish a Circulating Tumor Cell Center of Research Excellence (CTC CoRE). This new center builds upon JWCI's pioneering experience in CTC assessment in patients and Clearbridge BioMedics' expertise in isolating CTCs. Targeted to be set up by November 2016, the initial focus of the CTC CoRE is on melanoma, followed by epithelial cancers. JWCI envision that in the future, the center will evolve into a CLIA service for testing blood biopsy samples, with the objective of supporting diagnosis, treatment monitoring, and developing personalized therapies. This CTC CoRE leverages on JWCI's molecular CTC assay development expertise from rare cells and Clearbridge Biomedics' ClearCell ® FX System for unbiased, label-free enrichment of CTCs. The research carried out at the CTC CoRE aims to use defined tumor-related DNA and RNA biomarkers established at JWCI to assess patient status before and after therapy, for example, at the time of tumor resection, before and after use of specific therapeutic drugs, or for general follow-up. This may aid clinicians to monitor tumor progression and patients' response to treatment. Work carried out at this new CTC CoRE is expected to lead to validation of several assays for use under JWCI's future CLIA program, beginning with melanoma, and followed by epithelial solid tumor cancers. This is expected to eventually result in better decision-making and significant cost savings. The program allows for unbiased and label-free isolation of CTCs in a robust and reproducible manner compatible with multiple types of downstream assays used for clinical oncology translational studies.