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May
11
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Implant to deliver multiple cancer drug
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MIT chemical engineers have designed an implantable device that can deliver many drugs at once, allowing researchers to determine which drugs are the most effective against a patient’s tumor.
Credit: Eric Smith (edited by Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT)
More than 100 drugs have been approved to treat cancer, but predicting which ones will help a particular patient is an inexact science at best.
A new device developed at MIT may change that. The implantable device, about the size of the grain of rice, can carry small doses of up to 30 different drugs. After implanting it in a tumor and letting the drugs diffuse into the tissue, researchers can measure how effectively each one kills the patient’s cancer cells. Such a device could eliminate much of the guesswork now involved in choosing cancer treatments, says Oliver Jonas, a postdoc at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and lead author of a paper describing the device in the April 22 issue of Science Translational Medicine. “You can use it to test a patient for a range of available drugs, and pick the one that works best,” Jonas says. The paper’s senior authors are Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Professor at MIT and a member of the Koch Institute, the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, and the Department of Chemical Engineering; and Michael Cima, the David H. Koch Professor of Engineering at MIT and a member of the Koch Institute and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.


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