The team also plans to incorporate a miniature medication pump that can be set to deliver chemotherapy directly into the tumor environment, if and when the monitoring chips show that the tumor has become more aggressive.
It’s still not clear who will be the best candidates for this type of device. “Most folks who are not good candidates for [tumor removal] surgery will not want surgery to implant this so that they can be monitored,” warns Eugene Woltering, professor of surgery and neurosciences at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.
Woltering, who was not involved in the research, does believe the device may be ideal for those for whom complete surgical removal of the tumor is impossible or not desirable.
“Those individuals could have these implanted in sites where we left tumor behind to act as an early warning system,” Woltering said. “If it could drip some chemo in the affected area, then the local concentration of chemo would far exceed the diluted chemo concentration that would otherwise reach the tumor in the blood’s total volume.”