If an implant could detect the traveling cancer cells earlier, as well as help prevent their spread, it could help doctors treat the disease earlier and improve the chance of the patient beating the disease.
Researchers say they have developed a small implant that has successfully captured circulating cancer cells; at least in mice.
Of their research, the researchers describe how they created a “biomaterial implanted scaffold” that identifies and captures metastatic most cancers cells.
The study was published on Wednesday in Nature Communications.
When the device was implanted just beneath the skin of the mice, their immune systems went into attack mode as they would against any foreign intruder. At first, scientists labeled the cancer cells so they would light up and were easily recognizable.
An imaging technique called inverse spectroscopic optical coherence tomography (ISOCT) is then applied, allowing researchers to distinguish between healthy cells and cancer cells that have been trapped by the implant.
Researchers tested the implants in mice who’d had breast cancer, finding it attracted circulating cancer cells within about two weeks.
Jacqueline Jeruss, one of the study’s authors and an associate professor of surgery at U-M’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, was quoted by Mr. Cherry as having said that “something” like the new device “could be monitored for years and we could use it as an early indicator of recurrence”.
Cancer interferes with cells by turning them into “drones” that cluster into certain organs and attracts the cells to desired locations.
Cells moving from the original cancer site to infect other organs in a stealthy process called metastasis are usually detected too late to save a patient’s life.
Whereas their analysis was exclusively carried out in mice, the researchers contemplate their implant has potential as a therapeutic software program to cut back most cancers improvement in individuals.
About 5mm (zero.2in) in diameter and manufactured from a “biomaterial” already authorized to be used in medical gadgets, the implant has to date been examined in mice with breast most cancers.
“The combined systems can enable the early detection of metastatic disease”, Shea said. The material is harmless and dissolves in the body over time, and it is particularly effective for the cancer decoy as metastatic cells find it attractive, according to the news release.
“So far this implant approach has only been tested in mice, but it’s encouraging to see these results, which could one day play a role in stopping cancer spread in patients”.
Other organs were positively affected by the reduction of the tumor burden such as the liver and lung. “And by attracting cancer cells, it steers those cells away from vital organs”.
The researchers suggest the technology has the potential to be applicable to many types of cancer. Importantly, it is also unknown whether there could be any adverse effects of using the implant, such as cancer spread.