Mesothelioma sensors boost patients' survival prospects


Hopes are high that mesothelioma patients could benefit from implanted sensors which monitor tumours, according to Edinburgh University researchers.


When Implantable Microsystems for Personalised Anti-Cancer Therapy (IMPACT) are inserted into cancers, scientists will be able to measure blood oxygen levels and biological molecules, the data for which can then be transmitted wirelessly to medical staff.

These data, taken from a minute sensory implant and reported in real time, will allow doctors to establish the viability of chemo and radio therapy. Physicians will also be able to target resistance areas and revise the treatment as appropriate.

The transmitted data should make it possible to personalise treatment for mesothelioma based on patients' results, while readings assigned to individual tumours will let doctors monitor progress to "unprecedented" degrees of accuracy and detail.

Such targeted therapy, founded on mesothelioma sufferers' unique characteristics, boosts the treatment's likelihood of success and opens up treatment options not otherwise considered.

Prof Alan Murray of the University of Edinburgh said: "Experts including scientists, engineers, clinicians and social scientists will be working to target cancer, one of the biggest health concerns of today, in an entirely new way.

"Our aim is, in the long term, to help alleviate suffering and to improve the outlook for very many cancer patients."

The IMPACT team, from the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University, has received a 5-year grant of €5.2m to develop the mesothelioma sensor technology, with clinical trials scheduled to follow soon after.

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