Tumour growth now traceable through microchip

31 August 2011

The growth of cancerous tumours can now be monitored through a new microchip developed by medical scientists in Germany.

Offering the chance of improvements in cancer treatment, the chip monitors oxygen levels in surrounding tissue, thereby detecting whether a nearby tumour is expanding, BBC News reports.

The chip, which was developed by scientists at the Technical University in Munich, transmits its findings wirelessly to a patient's physician, decreasing the need for regular check-ups and increasing the likelihood of more targeted cancer treatments in the future.

Project manager Sven Barker explained that because some tumours pose risks in their removal, "it's better to monitor the tumour and only treat it if there's a strong growth phase".

"Normally you would have to go to the hospital to be monitored - using machines like MRI to detect the oxygen saturation. With our system you can do it on the go," he added.

Recent studies published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry discovered that using a particular compound that blocks the transportation mechanism which carries amino acids to cancers could significantly deplete the rate of growth in cancer cells.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

1 Karunakaran, Senthil, et. al., "SLC6A14 (ATB0,+), a highly concentrative and broad-specific amino acid transporter, is a novel and effective drug target for treatment of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer". Journal of Biological Chemistry. Tuesday July 19th 2011.

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