Fighting cancer is very touch on the caregivers because they need to find the medications that will kill the cancer cells without causing too many side effects for the patent. The problem is that too much cancer treatment like chemotherapy can make the person with cancer sicker than the tumor itself. Cancer is one of the biggest areas of research in the medical field and researchers have developed an interesting new implantable sensor that can continuously monitor the growth of a tumor.
By knowing when the tumor is growing the doctors treating the patient would know exactly when to start radiation treatments and they could also possibly know when a medication being use to kill a tumor is no longer working. Researchers have created a new sensor that can be implanted into the body to monitor tumor growth. The sensor would be placed inside the body near the tumor site and would shoot the data it collects to an external receiver. The data would then be transferred to the doctor over the phone for monitoring and analysis.
The new sensor is called the IntelliTuM and is 2-centimeters long. Inside the housing are a self-calibrating sensor, data measurement and evaluation electronics, and a transmitter inside a biocompatible plastic housing. The sensor detects how much oxygen is dissolved in the fluid near the tumor. A change in the concentration would signal that the metabolic behavior of the tumor has changed, often in a more aggressive way. The sensor has been testing in a tissue growth culture and the next stage will be live animal testing. Future versions could even have tumor fighting medication on board that could be deployed automatically when a change in the tumor is noted.
[via Technology Review]