Rajan Kulkarni

Rajan Kulkarni
About Rajan Kulkarni

Prostate cancer diagnosis and precision medicine decisions are currently informed by analysis of tissues obtained by invasive biopsy procedures. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are cells that have been shed from tumor sites and can be obtained from blood draws. Enumeration of CTCs have been shown to possess prognostic significance in clinical studies.

Dr. Rajan Kulkarni is developing a highly innovative microfluidic chip, termed ‘Vortex Chip,’ for improved efficiency of isolation of CTCs from patient blood.

CTCs can also serve as proxies for studying molecular and genomic features of a patient’s tumor. Dr. Kulkarni will assess CTCs for expression of oncogenic and metastatic proteins, genomic aberrations, and gene expression profiles.

If successful, this project will generate a new CTC isolation technology and validate the use of CTCs for diagnostic, prognostic, and precision medicine determinations.

What this means for patients: Prostate cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment decisions require invasive biopsies which can cause patient morbidity and often result in insufficient specimens. This project will create a new technology and validate methodologies that will allow this information to be gained from tumor cells obtained by a simple blood draw.


2014 Bari Milken Bernstein and Fred Bernstein-PCF Young Investigator

Rajan Kulkarni, MD, PhD

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA


Matthew Rettig, MD, Dino Di Carlo, PhD

Proposal Title

Utilizing Vortex Chip for Enumeration and Determination of Single-Cell Heterogeneity of Circulating Tumor Cells in Prostate Cancer