A team of scientists from Rice University in the United States has received $45 million in funding to develop sense-and-respond implant technology that could reduce cancer deaths by more than 50 percent. The grant, given to a group of scientists led by Rice University and drawn from seven different states, would expedite the creation and assessment of a new cancer therapy strategy. This strategy will significantly improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy for patients with difficult-to-treat tumors such as ovarian, pancreatic and other malignancies.
“Instead of strapping patients to hospital beds, IV bags and external monitors, we will use a minimally invasive procedure to implant a tiny device that continuously monitors their cancer and adjusts their immunotherapy dose in real time,” says Rice bioengineer Omid Veiseh. the principal investigator (PI) of the ARPA-H Collaborative Agreement said in a statement.
When used for cancer immunotherapy, closed-loop therapy – a strategy previously used to manage diabetes – is revolutionary. There is constant contact between an insulin pump and a glucose meter.
The team consists of engineers, healthcare professionals and a broad spectrum of specialists from various sectors, including synthetic biology, materials science, immunology, oncology, electrical engineering and artificial intelligence. THOR, an acronym for “targeted hybrid oncotherapeutic regulation,” is the name of this collaborative initiative and its team. The implant developed by THOR is known as HAMMR, which stands for “hybrid advanced molecular manufacturing regulator”.
“Cancer cells are constantly evolving and adapting to therapy. However, currently available diagnostic tools, including radiological tests, blood tests and biopsies, provide very rare and limited snapshots of this dynamic process,” says Dr. Amir Jazaeri, co-principal investigator. and professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, in a statement.
“As a result, current therapies treat cancer as if it were a static disease. We believe THOR could transform the status quo by providing real-time data from the tumor environment that could in turn guide more effective and tumor-informed new therapies. ” he added.
“The technology has broad applicability for peritoneal cancers that affect the pancreas, liver, lungs and other organs,” said an associate professor of bioengineering at Rice.