Medical Society is constantly looking for miracles especially when it comes to Cancer. And it seems the wish has been granted. In a decision that would provide relief to millions, The Advanced Research Projects Agency For Health- (ARPA-H) has been able to allocate over $ 45 million to Rice University for their path-breaking discovery in the field of implants.
According to the researchers, the sense-and respond- implant would decrease mortality of over 50 % of Cancer patients.
The university collaborated with multiple stakeholders including MD Anderson, Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University, the University of Houston, Johns Hopkins University, the Chicago-based startup CellTrans, and New York City-based Bruder Consulting and Venture Group
This significant discovery could be helpful in preventing multiple cancers that are otherwise considered to be dangerous. It includes ovarian, pancreatic, and other fatal variants. The lead researcher on the study Dr. Omid Veiseh, is an expert bioengineer and his team consists of physicians and doyens from various facets including material science, synthetic biology, Oncology, AI, and Electrical Engineering to name a few.
Harnessing the powers of the Norse god of Thunder, the collaboration has been named THOR standing for Targeted Hybrid Oncotherapeutic Regulation and the implant is called HAMMR or Hybrid Advanced Molecular Manufacturing Regulator.
When asked about its working, the researchers believe that it could regulate the flow of immunotherapy doses to their bodies. Immunotherapy has emerged to be one of the most effective ways to mitigate cancers. Its working is based on the control and release of certain hormones that might able to decrease the production of cancerous cells. These are specially modified in the lab and have a potency rate of 20% when combined with other methods and if the disease is diagnosed early.
Commenting on the idea behind its creation, Dr. Veiseh responded, “Instead of tethering patients to hospital beds, IV bags, and external monitors, we’ll use a minimally invasive procedure to implant a small device that continuously monitors their cancer and adjusts their immunotherapy dose in real-time.”
Immunotherapy is considered widely an option lately as it is known to have fewer post-treatment reactions. It is often the best course of action when other treatments don’t work as effectively as hoped. Thanks to the targeted approach it doesn’t disrupt the whole functioning of the body. Moreover, the cases of immune memory have been rising. Basically, once the immune cells receive the treatment they are known to keep a memory of the same and quite possibly lessen the chance of it returning. However, it is not without its side effects but scientists are positive that a change could make it work more smoothly than ever.
Talking more about the idea, the researchers opined, “Cancer cells are continually evolving and adapting to therapy. However, currently available diagnostic tools, including radiologic tests, blood assays, and biopsies, provide very infrequent and limited snapshots of this dynamic process. As a result, today’s 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 can in turn guide more effective and tumor-informed novel therapies.”
The future does hold some challenges for the group as the study is only in its infancy. Out of its 5 years of experimentation, the trials will probably begin only when the phase reaches its 4th stage. Nevertheless, it is hoped that it will be a beacon of light for many who have been struggling with Ovarian cancer due to its aggressiveness. The university is looking forward to announcing many similar projects later in the year.
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