This Little Device Could Be a Revolution for Cancer Treatment

The fight against cancer It is one of those battles that even science cannot win in its entirety, this despite the fact that there are several methods to combat it, predicting its onset and treatment non-invasive are still pending matters. Meanwhile, die every year close to eight million people in the world due to some kind of cancer.

Because of this, researchers have devised different treatments based on the use of chemotherapy and radiation, very aggressive methods for the human body, but to this day are the only proven way to eliminate cancerous tumors. Important part of this, is Learn about the efficiency of the treatment, and it is here where MIT has a major project that could result in use, and proper choice, of a better treatment for cancer.

The key is to know the efficiency of treatment immediately

To this day, the unique ways we have to know if a treatment is operated, is based on MRI to learn the size of the tumor, or through pathological tests of tissue obtained with a biopsy, this last being the most risky and invasive. But these methods only give details of how the tumor reacted to the treatment, this months after having started with the, with all the risks that this entails, since if no favorable response need to change treatment.

Now researchers from the Department of integrative cancer of the MIT Koch Institute, have developed a small biochemical sensor that it would be implanted in the tumor or cancerous tissue during the first biopsy. The sensor will be able to send information about the tumor in real time to an external device, allowing know immediately the response to treatment, to continue or adjust it if necessary.

This would increase significantly the response time, as well as that would not need biopsies or MRIs, readings would take place in just a few minutes and the results would be in maximum one hour.

Michael Cima, Professor in engineering in the Department of materials science and engineering from the MIT Koch Institute, and who oversaw the development of the sensor, mentioned:

“We wanted to make a device that would give us a chemical signal of what is happening in the tumor, instead of waiting months to see if the tumor is shrinking, with this sensor could be obtained an early reading to see if it is moving in the right direction”.

This sensor is able to provide information on the levels of pH and oxygen dissolved in the tissue with cancer, this will help that doctors fit the appropriate radiation dose, Since tumors grow under conditions of low oxygen (hypoxia), therefore, if the tumor is more hypoxia, will need higher radiation.

The sensor is covered by a plastic biocompatible and its size is the small enough to fit in the biopsy needle. Inside have 10 microliters of contrast agents chemicals, which are used in MRI, as well as a coil for the reader and a second coil to sensor, the latter will be responsible to operate the transfer of information to external reader through mutual inductance.

First tests in mice have been a success, so it is considered that in the not-too-distant future they will be able start with tests in humans. In addition to that trust that a person may live with this sensor for several years without any problem.