A scanning electron micrograph of human red blood cells. Courtesy of Wellcome Images.

“Blood biopsies”

When a tumor grows beyond a certain size, it begins to shed cells, not unlike particles flaking off dry skin. Exactly when or why this happens in humans isn’t known, but these cells, called “circulating tumor cells” or CTCs play a major role in the spread of cancer to other parts of the body, the process more formally known as metastasis.

Scientists believe CTCs could be a new and invaluable source of information in the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer, but a big part of the current challenge is finding enough them: For every million or so circulating blood cells, there may be only a few CTCs. It’s the proverbial search for a needle in a haystack, only the needle is infinitesimally smaller and moving inside the human body. CTCs are also not generally inclined to announce their presence – at least not until they’ve lodged somewhere else (a distant organ, for example) to colonize and grow a new tumor.

The existing gold standard for isolating and identifying CTCs is an assay in which blood samples are exposed to magnetic beads coated with an antibody that binds to specific proteins on the surface of cancer cells. The capturing efficacy of this method ranges between 60 and 90 percent, but it also takes time and is prone to contamination from leukocytes – white blood cells that may also stick to the beads.

Recently, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center described a new, alternative filtering technique that employs microbubbles. Writing in the March issue of PLOS One, principal investigator Dmitri Simberg, PhD, assistant project scientist, and colleagues said each microbubble is about half the diameter of a blood cell, filled with perfluorocarbon gas (for buoyancy and stability) and coated with an antibody. Exposed to a blood sample, the bubbles quickly attach themselves to any CTC encountered and puls them into a greater concentration (think soda bubbles rising to the top of a glass).

In tests using blood samples from mice and humans, Simberg said the microbubble assay worked better and faster than existing approaches, reducing the risk of contamination or sample degradation.

Though more research is required, he noted that the microbubble method may represent “the emerging field of blood biopsies, in which highly pure CTCs could be used as a source of tissue for personalized molecular diagnostics.”

What if one day an aquarium has a mermaid exhibit

Like they fill an entire tank with perfluorocarbon (the liquid contains enough oxygen for us to breathe normally in, though it’s a bit rough transitioning from the liquid back to air) and have a woman that’s willing to put on a tail and be painted with some top notch movie makeup and they put her in the tank for a few days for the people visiting the aquarium

Talk about making dreams come true


Carbon tetrafluoride (or perfluoride), is an example of a basic perfluorocarbon. One of the properties of these compounds is that they can easily dissolve oxygen gas, as evidenced by the mouse that is breathing while completely submerged in the solution. Because perfluorides dissolve oxygen instead of binding to oxygen like hemoglobin, perfluorides can deposit oxygen up to twice as fast and could potentially be used to make artificial blood.
Global Interest in the Potential Medical Benefits of Novel Perfluorocarbon At All Time High Oxygen Biotherapeutics Announces It Has Material Transfer Agreements in Place With Universities, Research Institutions Worldwide and the US Military
Headquartered in Morrisville, NC, Oxygen Biotherapeutics, Inc. is developing medical, topical and cosmetic products that efficiently deliver oxygen to tissues in the body. The company has developed a proprietary perfluorocarbon (PFC) therapeutic oxygen carrier product being formulated for both intravenous and topical delivery. This year, the company launched its DERMACYTE® line of oxygen-rich skin care products. The company is focused on perfluorocarbon-based oxygen carriers for use in traumatic brain injury, decompression sickness, personal care, and topical wound healing. More information is available

MTA wants to kill you, maybe

So, the following notice, just released on a ton of sites, states that the MTA is exposing you to a relatively harmless gas that might cause failure in your reproductive organs, liver failure and a bunch of other stuff.  Take a look on inhabitat.

Text from the printed piece is here:

Thank you for riding the MTA.

At this time we would like to thank you for participating in a joint study conducted by the NYPD and Brookhaven National Laboratory  sponsored by The Department of Defense.

During the month of July riders will be randomly exposed to Perfluorocarbon gas in 5 boroughs and on 21 subway lines in an effort to study airflow throughout the MTA subway system.

Perfluorocarbons are colorless, odorless, and powerful man-made greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.  They are emitted as a by-product during aluminum production, are used as solvents in the electronics industry, and as refrigerants in many cooling systems.

We still do not fully understand the health effects of Perfluorocarbon gas exposure, though Perfluorocarbons are linked to the early onset of menopause.  Studies in animals have found that these gases significantly alter liver and thyroid function, increase the risk for tumors and cause failure in reproductive organs.

These gases are being dispersed as a test for your protection against an unwanted chemical attack.

Thank you for riding with the MTA and have a safe day.


This smells like a fake to me.  Reads a bit like the Fake MTA posters that can be found here.

With that said - I have no idea if this is fake or not. 

Remember that scene in The Abyss, before you fell asleep, when Ed Harris was put in a diving suit that was filled with pink goo that he then breathed? It turns out James Cameron wasn’t blowing pink goo-laced smoke up our ass; that stuff really exists. Perfluorocarbons are fluids that contain shitloads of oxygen, making it possible to breathe liquid. They originally tested it back in the 60s on mice, with a certain degree of success… sort of.

The mice ended up dying after being submerged in it for a few hours, possibly due to the gut wrenching horror of drowning, but not dying, while trying to scream in their tiny mouse voices. Rather than manning up to the fact that breathing liquid destroyed the mice’s diaphragms, the scientists blamed the deaths on impurities in the liquid (most likely horrified mouse shit).