Liquid Biopsy Unit


The Liquid Biopsy Analysis Unit led by Dr. Laura Muinelo specialises in the analysis of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) and circulating tumour DNA/RNA (ctDNA/RNA)

The interest in the study of tumour material present in blood has increased exponentially in the last decade because it allows both basic researchers and clinicians have a key tool to characterise tumours, allowing both the selection of therapies and disease monitoring in a non-invasive and dynamic manner. This growing interest has been accompanied by significant technological developments in the field of liquid biopsy study. However, there are hardly any specialised laboratories working in this field nationwide. Our liquid biopsy analysis platform is an exception because it has the equipment and expertise necessary to carry out the study of CTCs ctDNA/RNA using the most well-validated and innovative techniques in the field. For this reason the laboratory is currently a national reference for the study of liquid biopsy, where an average volume of 400 samples from hospitals and research centres throughout the Spanish territory is analysed per year.

Technological Capabilities

The Platform has a CellSearch system, the only system approved by the FDA for quantitative analysis of CTCs, a Veriti Dx 96-well Thermal Cycler, a latest generation Cube6i Flow Cytometer (Partek), micromanipulator (Leica) and basic equipment of a molecular biology laboratory: centrifuges, biological safety cabinets, PCRs cabinets and cell culture equipment. In addition to its own equipment, the platform has the ability to use other common IDIS equipment necessary for the study of liquid biopsy, like the Leica SP8 confocal microscope or DEParray system (Silicon Biosystems) which allows studies at the level of single CTCs to be carried out, and which is the only one available nationwide.




The platform offers the following services: isolation of plasma and PBMC by centrifugation and Ficoll; isolating exosomes; isolation of platelets; isolation and quantitative analysis of CTCs with the CellSearch system; isolation of CTCs by CellEllection, Metacell and Cellcollector; isolation of RNA/DNA plasma and saliva CTCs; studies of gene expression by qRT-PCR, genetic studies to identify point mutations by BEAMing in ctDNA, detection by immunofluorescence techniques and manipulation of single cell level of CTC enriched samples.




Principal Researcher

Laura Muinelo Romay


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