Cancer Treatment Gets a New Tech Upgrade
Cancer, in its many and varied forms, is responsible for around 13% of all deaths worldwide per year. In the US alone, over half a million people died of cancer last year and a similar number of fatalities are expected for 2015 as well, according to information gathered by the American Cancer Society. Fortunately, things are looking brighter for future treatment of the disease thanks to a miraculous new upgrade.
A new device, developed by scientists working at Boston University, could have the potential to track the development of tumors in cancer patients and provide accurate medical data that can make the right form of treatment easier to identify. For now, the researchers behind this device are waiting to receive a four million dollar grant, provided by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs service. Upon receipt of these funds, the research teams will be able to develop the device and hopefully make it available for general use, improving the quality of cancer treatment for all patients.
Irving Bigio, a professor involved in the project, explained the ways in which cancer affects every individual in different ways. He discussed how the disease is “able to change itself” and become resistant to various forms of treatment over time. Since the disease affects different people in unique ways, this treatment should be able to address that problem by providing unique data on each individual patient and suggesting the optimal treatment for each of them.
Darren Roblyer is a professor at Boston University and is responsible for leading the project. He believes that the current methods of cancer treatment being used aren’t catered well enough for each individual patient. With this new method, based around optical technology building 3D images of patients’ tumors, Roblyer believes that everyone can receive treatment that has been specifically designed and recommended for them. Roblyer claims that optics technology will allow doctors to keep track of cancerous cells as they change and adapt in real-time.
Roblyer’s team will be making use of the grant money to develop two variations of this new device. One will be a wearable probe, attached to the patient’s body and capable of monitoring the activity of cancerous cells and tumors, providing feedback on the changes in a tumor regularly. The second device will be a handheld probe which will emit ultrasonic waves in order to detect and scan tumors. These two devices will be used together and the data they gather will be collated in order to discover the ideal treatment for an individual patient.
This incredible new tech upgrade could be an important step on the road to defeating cancer once and for all. It will clearly be an advancement over current cancer treatment methods and will allow doctors to track the progress of cancer in an individual patient in real-time, offering vital data that could provide people with the personalized treatment plans they need and thereby save countless lives.