The Jeffrey Lab works on projects related to the metastatic process and optimizing therapy for individual cancer patients.
Capturing and Analyzing Circulating Tumor Cells
Dr. Jeffrey’s lab invents and/or evaluates technologies for extracting and molecularly profiling live circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from blood and disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) from bone marrow. The lab helps optimize and test CTC capture devices, including both affinity-based and label-free enrichment technologies, for downstream molecular analyses and use of the cells in biological applications.

The lab performs high dimensional single cell transcriptional profiling or single cell mutation analyses to investigate CTC population heterogeneity. Assays for evaluating drug response among heterogeneous CTC populations are under development.
Developing Digital Microfluidic Devices to Guide Cancer Therapy Selection
Funded by the NCI Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies (IMAT) Program, Dr. Jeffrey’s lab is developing a digital (droplet-based) microfluidic chip for drug testing using an electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) platform. Droplets containing tumor cells and reagents can be dispensed, transported, merged, and split. The chip is being designed primarily for use with CTCs from a blood sample (a "liquid biopsy") to potentially eliminate the need for tissue biopsy of metastatic lesions. On-chip assays for real-time biochemical profiling, cell growth, and drug response are being developed to identify effective patient-specific therapies that can be selected at different times during the disease course of cancer patients.

Other CTC device and in vitro drug testing projects:
  • optimizing and validating the Quantumcyte single-cell chemoresponse assay
  • assaying CTCs by using magneto-densitometry (MagDense) cell sorting technology developed by the Demerci Bio-Acoustic MEMS in Medicine (BAMM) laboratories at Stanford
  • detecting and evaluating the pharmacodynamics of CTCs with Dr. George Sledge and the Adam de la Zerda lab at Stanford
  • collaborating with Wonjae Lee, PhD, of Stanford Neurosurgery in the development of a 3D “brain on a chip” for diagnosing and treating brain metastases
  • analyzing CTC signaling pathways using single-cell western blots (scWesterns) developed by the Amy Herr lab at UC Berkeley
Testing Novel Cancer Therapies in Patient-Derived Xenografts
Using breast and metastatic colorectal tumors obtained fresh from the operating room, Dr. Jeffrey’s group generates patient-derived orthotopic xenograft models for preclinical testing of new cancer therapies. Current projects funded by the Department of Defense, NIH, and the Stanford Cancer Institute include testing of an anti-CD81 antibody with the Shoshana Levy lab, and targeted exosomal delivery of a novel mRNA construct with the AC Matin lab at Stanford. New collaborations are being established with the Andrew Feinberg lab (Center for Epigenetics) at Johns Hopkins University and the Stanley Cohen lab at Stanford to predict response to new drugs and/or use novel techniques to reverse resistance to established drugs.
Select Previous Research Projects
  • co-developed the MagSweeper technology for automated immunomagnetic capture of live rare cells from blood or other fluids or tissues with high purity and minimal impact on gene expression - with Drs. Ashley Powell (Jeffrey Lab), AmirAli Talasaz (Stanford School of Engineering), Ron Davis and Michael Mindrinos (Stanford Genome Technology Center), and Fabian Pease (Stanford School of Engineering), now licensed by Stanford to Illumina, Inc.
  • co-developed drug response signatures with the Andrea Bild lab at University of Utah
  • co-developed the molecular classification of breast cancer, describing luminal, HER2-overexpressing, and basal-like subtypes using DNA microarrays (leading to awareness of the triple negative breast cancer subtype) - with Drs. David Botstein, Pat Brown, Chuck Perou, Anne-Lise Børresen-Dale, and Therese Sørlie
  • co-developed a multimodality instrument for real-time in vivo tissue characterization of cancer with Dr. Robert Mah at NASA Ames Research Center, which won a NASA Space Act Board Award