Health News

Cancer Sponge: Researchers Develop Implantable Device That Soaks Up Cancers Cells

Cancer Sponge Implants

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new implantable device designed to soak up cancer cells wandering throughout the body and according to Michigan Engineering’s Gabe Cherry, it could eventually be used to slow the spread of the deadly disease between the body’s organs.

Thus far, researchers have only tested the implant in mice, however it seems to stop wandering cancer cells from reaching other areas where new tumors could form. If this proves to be the case with humans implanted with the sponge-like device, it could be really good news for cancer patients as the BBC reports that according to Cancer Research UK, 9 out of 10 cancer deaths were caused by the disease spreading to other parts of the body.

The American Cancer Society confirms Cancer Research UK’s claim of 90 percent of the cancer deaths being caused by cancer which spreads to other parts of the body, which is formally known as metastatic cancer.

The new device — which researchers are calling a “super-attractor” — is designed to attract cancer cells emerging in the bloodstream during the early stages of recurrence.

Cancer cells don’t just randomly metastasize anywhere in the body. Instead, after having broken off from a tumor, they flow in the blood until they reach a specific environment — one which proves hospitable.

The study in which mice diagnosed with breast cancer were implanted with the device, which was published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, shows that mice implanted with the device reduced the spread of cancer cells from elsewhere in the body to the lungs by 88 percent. The researchers also found the implants to be capable of attracting detectable numbers of cancer cells prior to them becoming visible elsewhere in the body.

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.”

Breast cancer is a disease that can recur over a long period in a patient’s life, and a recurrence is often very difficult to detect until the cancer becomes established in another organ (…) Something like this could be monitored for years and we could use it as an early indicator of recurrence.

In related news, British scientists recently developed an inexpensive blood test which can warn breast cancer patients if they are about to have a recurrence.

Click to comment
To Top

Hi - We Would Love To Keep In Touch

If you liked this article then please consider joing our mailing list to receive the latest news, updates and opportunities from our team.

We don't want an impostor using your email address so please look for an email from us and click the link to confirm your email address.