Implantable Cancer Tracker
Scientists have developed an implantable device designed to monitor a patients response to their cancer therapy with a goal of developing a more effective and efficient treatment regime. The device uses a biosensor to monitor several important indicators to show if a tumor is responding to a certain type of treatment. Since chemotherapy causes the tissue in a tumor to become more acidic (pH acidity level), the biosensor can pick up and monitor the level. And, since tumors thrive on lower levels of oxygen, the sensor detects the oxygen level that will help aid in the determination of the best treatment doses and their effectiveness at any given time.
Currently, tests such as biopsies or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans only provide the status of a tumor for that specific timeframe, this device offers continuous data that can track a tumor to show its status over time and provide for therapy based on the actual characteristics of the tumor.
Incredibly, the biosensor can fit into the tip of a biopsy needle. It is encased in a biocompatible, plastic shell full of chemical agents and data reading electronics that are sent to an external data reading device. Test results in rats indicated that the device was successful in sending accurate data of the pH and oxygen levels in the tissue surrounding the tumor. Additional, long term testing is currently being conducted before being available for use in humans.