An implanted device is intended to help monitor tumor activity in real time.
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in developed countries. Imaging procedures are used to check whether the radiation therapies used are helping. However, they can usually only be applied at intervals of several months, between which the attending physician cannot tell whether the therapy is effective or not. An implanted device is intended to help monitor tumor activity in real time.
Prof. Andreas Bahr, Head of the Institute of Integrated Circuits (ICC) at the TU Hamburg and his team led by Julian Singer and Anton Geläschus are working together on the project "PI-O-TU Photoluminescence Lifetime Imager for Oxygen Monitoring in Tumors". The Calls for Transfer (C4T) project is funded by the City of Hamburg.
"We want to develop an invasive electronic system for measuring parameters that describe the activity of a tumor. The measured data will be transmitted telemetrically to the outside and then medically evaluated. The oxygen concentration in the tissue provides direct information about the behavior and development of the tumor. By monitoring the oxygen content using an implant, valuable data can be obtained to optimize the therapy. To measure the oxygen concentration, we develop high-precision optical sensors that measure the duration and intensity of this photoluminescence, the afterglow behavior. This enables us to determine the oxygen content in the tissue very precisely.To do this, we need very sensitive sensors that can detect the low light intensity in the form of individual photons.By using modern manufacturing processes, sensors and electronics can be integrated onto microchips and miniaturized to such an extent that they can be implanted.This makes it possible to continuously monitor the development of a tumor, which would complement the current monitoring based on imaging techniques and biopsies. These only allow an assessment of the current activity of the size and contour of the tumor at longer intervals, which means that the optimal time for radiotherapy or chemotherapy can be indicated."