Technology experts in Waterford have joined a global program aimed at tackling one of the most aggressive forms of cancer by implanting small machines into the brains of affected patients.
The Telecommunications, Software and Systems Group (TSSG) of the Waterford Institute of Technology is collaborating with universities around the world on the groundbreaking GLADIATOR project.
Together they develop miniature devices that interact with manipulated cells, bio-nanomachines, to detect and treat brain tumors.
The devices, when implanted in the brain, are controlled from an external wireless device that collects information to treat Glioblastoma Multiforme, a type of brain cancer that can kill within a few weeks.
According to Principal Investigator and Director of Research at TSSG, Dr. Sasitharan Balasubramaniam, GLADIATOR is a paradigm shift in oncology that will enable artificial networks of bio-nanomachines to extract and manipulate cancer status information to influence its progression.
"The comprehensive theranostic solution for brain tumors is an important medical breakthrough. Currently, very complex malignancies, such as brain tumors, have a very bleak prognosis, despite recent advances in their treatment and management," he said.
The mission of GLADIATOR is to radically and radically change cancer monitoring and therapy, Dr. Said said. Michael Barros from TSSG.
"Surgery for this form of brain cancer is very traumatic because the cancer is embedded deep in the brain. GLADIATOR aims to use wireless signals to control implanted bio-nanomachine-engineered cells in the brain for detection and treatment, and to recover signals send to an external computer device that will determine the next best course of action.
"The project team will also investigate the design of the circuit diagram, the power and communication requirements, etc. of these small implantable devices and how they can interface with the bio-nanomachines that interact with the cancer," added Dr. Barros to.
The € 6 million Horizon 2020 funded project will significantly improve patients' prognosis and prolong their survival, GLADIATOR partners say.
GLADIATOR is already underway and the four-year project sees TSSG communication technology experts in collaboration with six other academic centers in Cyprus (University of Cyprus), Finland (University of Oulu), Norway (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) , Germany (Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering), USA (Michigan State University) and Japan (Osaka University) and a nano-biotechnology SME EPOS-IASIS from Cyprus.
The results of the project are expected to significantly improve patient prognosis and prolong survival by minimizing recurrences and reducing drug toxicity. A longer life expectancy, shorter hospital admissions and less involvement of health care providers also have a positive effect on health care systems, the experts predict.