A novel vertically aligned carbon nanotube based electrical cell impedance sensing biosensor (CNT-ECIS) was demonstrated for the first time as a more rapid, sensitive and specific device for the detection of cancer cells. This biosensor is based on the fast entrapment of cancer cells on vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays and leads to mechanical and electrical interactions between CNT tips and entrapped cell membranes, changing the impedance of the biosensor. CNT-ECIS was fabricated through a photolithography process on Ni/SiO2/Si layers. Carbon nanotube arrays have been grown on 9 nm thick patterned Ni microelectrodes by DC-PECVD. SW48 colon cancer cells were passed over the surface of CNT covered electrodes to be specifically entrapped on elastic nanotube beams. CNT arrays act as both adhesive and conductive agents and impedance changes occurred as fast as 30 s (for whole entrapment and signaling processes). CNT-ECIS detected the cancer cells with the concentration as low as 4000 cells cm−2 on its surface and a sensitivity of 1.7 × 10−3 Ω cm2. Time and cell efficiency factor (TEF and CEF) parameters were defined which describe the sensor's rapidness and resolution, respectively. TEF and CEF of CNT-ECIS were much higher than other cell based electrical biosensors which are compared in this paper.