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Researchers are working on an implant that could cure cancer in just 60 days and reduce mortality rates by 50%.
According to a group of researchers at Rice University who have secured $45 million in funding for a unique, implant-based treatment system that could reduce cancer death rates by 50%, curing cancer could soon be as simple as a few clicks on your smartphone.
The funds, granted by the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, will be used to develop "sense-and-respond implant technology," with the aim to improve the outcomes of immunotherapy treatments for hard-to-treat cancers.
Omid Veiseh, a Rice bioengineer, and the project's principal investigator said in a statement: "Instead of tethering patients to hospital beds, IV bags, and external monitors, we'll use a minimally invasive procedure to implant a 3-inch abdominal device that continuously monitors their caner's rapidly mutating cells and adjusts their immunotherapy dose in real-time."
The three-inch implant, or "hybrid advanced molecular manufacturing regulator" (HAMMR}, would supply immunotherapy medications to the patient in a "closed loop" method, similar to diabetes treatments using insulin pumps. According to experts, the wireless communication between rechargeable devices "potentially with a smartphone."
In as little as 60 days, the implant, according to researchers, should be able to cure the malignancy.
"Cancer cells are constantly changing and adjusting to treatment. According to Dr. Amir Jazaeri, co-principal investigator and professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, "currently available diagnostic tools, including radiologic tests, blood assays, and biopsies, provide very infrequent and limited snapshots of this dynamic process.
"Cancer is treated in today's therapies as if it were a static disease."
Instead, their technology will speed up therapy by providing "real-time data from the tumor environment that can guide more effective and tumor-informed novel therapies" and acting as both a cancer monitoring and medication administration system.
"The technology is broadly applicable for peritoneal cancers that affect the pancreas, liver, lungs, and other organs," added Veiseh.
The project name is THOR, which stands for "targeted hybrid oncotherapeutic regulation," and the research team is made up of specialists from a variety of professions working across 20 facilities in seven states.
The effectiveness of the implant in treating recurrent ovarian cancer will be examined in the initial clinical study. Within five years, they want to start conducting human trials.
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