Home > Press > MIT implant could measure tumor growth, treatment
A tiny implant now being developed at MIT could one day help doctors rapidly monitor the growth of tumors and the progress of chemotherapy in cancer patients.
MIT implant could measure tumor growth, treatment
Cambridge, MA | Posted on December 18th, 2006
The implant contains nanoparticles that can be designed to test for different substances, including metabolites such as glucose and oxygen that are associated with tumor growth. It can also track the effects of cancer drugs: Once inside a patient, the implant could reveal how much of a certain cancer drug has reached the tumor, helping doctors determine whether a treatment is working in a particular patient.
"You really want to have some sort of rapid measure of whether it's working or not, or whether you should go on to the next (drug)," said Michael Cima, the Sumitomo Electric Industries Professor of Engineering in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and the leader of the research team.
Such nanoparticles have been used before, but for the first time, the MIT researchers have encased the nanoparticles in a silicone delivery device, allowing them to remain in patients' bodies for an extended period of time. The device can be implanted directly into a tumor, allowing researchers to get a more direct look at what is happening in the tumor over time.
With blood testing, which is now commonly used to track chemotherapy progress, it's hard to tell if cancer drugs are reaching their intended targets, says Grace Kim, a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and one of the researchers working on the implant. That's because the system of blood vessels surrounding tumors is complicated, and you can't trust that drugs present in the blood have also reached the tumor, according to Kim.
The new technique, known as implanted magnetic sensing, makes use of detection nanoparticles composed of iron oxide and coated with a sugar called dextran. Antibodies specific to the target molecules are attached to the surface of the particles. When the target molecules are present, they bind to the particles and cause them to clump together. That clumping can be detected by MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
The nanoparticles are trapped inside the silicone device, which is sealed off by a porous membrane. The membrane allows molecules smaller than 30 nm to get in, but the detection particles are too big to get out.
The device can be engineered to test for many things at the same time, leading Kim to offer a turkey-based analogy.
"When you're cooking a turkey, you can take the temperature with a thermometer," she said. "But with something like this, instead of just taking the temperature, you can find out about the moisture, the saltiness, and whether there's enough rosemary."
In addition to monitoring the presence of chemotherapy drugs, the device could also be used to check whether a tumor is growing or shrinking, or whether it has spread to other locations, by sensing the amount and location of tumor markers.
The next step for the research group is to start more extensive preclinical testing. They will be looking for a hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), that can be considered a marker for cancer because it is produced by tumors but not normally found in healthy individuals (unless they are pregnant).
The researchers are now preparing a paper on the work and have presented their findings at recent meetings of the European Cancer Society and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
Other MIT researchers involved in the project are Karen Daniel, a graduate student in chemical engineering, Christophoros Vassiliou, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science, and Noel Elman, a postdoctoral associate in the Materials Processing Center. Lee Josephson, an associate professor at the Center for Molecular Imaging Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, is also contributing to the project.
This work is funded by the National Cancer Institute through the MIT-Harvard Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence.
The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.
For more information, please click here
Elizabeth A. Thomson, MIT News Office
Copyright © MIT
If you have a comment, please Contact
Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
QuantuMDx announce prototype handheld lab for 15 minute malaria diagnosis and drug resistance testing April 23rd, 2014
Nanovations Sets new Benchmark in Automotive Windscreen Coating Durability: Nanovations new automotive glass coating Vision Protect, sets new benchmark in glass coating durability March 23rd, 2014
Tawada CleanTech to show fabric duct and eco cool coating in MegaBuild March 21st, 2014
NEI Introduces Self-healing Anti-corrosion Coating for Zinc-Plated and Galvanized Steel March 14th, 2014
Researchers create vaccine for dust-mite allergies Main Page Content: Vaccine reduced lung inflammation to allergens in lab and animal tests July 22nd, 2014
NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast July 22nd, 2014
SentiMag® Now Available in Australia and New Zealand July 21st, 2014
More than glitter: Scientists explain how gold nanoparticles easily penetrate cells, making them useful for delivering drugs July 21st, 2014
Compact Vibration Harvester Power Supply with Highest Efficiency Opens Door to “Fix-and-Forget” Sensor Nodes July 23rd, 2014
Nano-sized Chip "Sniffs Out" Explosives Far Better than Trained Dogs: TAU researcher's groundbreaking sensor detects miniscule concentrations of hazardous materials in the air July 23rd, 2014
Tiny laser sensor heightens bomb detection sensitivity July 19th, 2014
Iranian Scientists Use Nanosensors to Achieve Best Limit for Early Cancer Diagnosis July 19th, 2014
Harris & Harris Group to Host Conference Call on Second-Quarter 2014 Financial Results on August 15, 2014 July 23rd, 2014
UCF Nanotech Spinout Developing Revolutionary Battery Technology: Power the Next Generation of Electronics with Carbon July 23rd, 2014
Deadline Announced for Registration in 7th Int'l Nanotechnology Festival in Iran July 23rd, 2014
A Crystal Wedding in the Nanocosmos July 23rd, 2014
Japanese gold leaf artists worked on a nano-scale: Study demonstrates X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy is a non-destructive way to date artwork July 3rd, 2014
Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks: A real possibility next Christmas? Forget socks and shaving foam, the big kids of tomorrow want an invisible cloak for Christmas December 19th, 2013
Chicago Awareness Organization First Not-for-Profit to Sponsor Dog Training to Detect Ovarian Cancer Odorants December 12th, 2013
ZEISS Microscopes used to create images for Art Exhibit at Midway Airport: Art of Science: Images from the Institute for Genomic Biology October 25th, 2013