Oncology Archives

It’s a Trap! Polymer Nanofibers Lure Malignant Brain Cancer Cells into Kill Zone (VIDEO)

brain tumor vacuum Its a Trap! Polymer Nanofibers Lure Malignant Brain Cancer Cells into Kill Zone (VIDEO)CNS malignancies are typically hard to physically access, often leaving only radiation and chemotherapy as treatment options. This leaves opportunity for the tumor to spread quickly to other parts of the brain, and become completely untreatable. Since tumor cells hijack blood vessels and cellular signaling pathways to allow them to move around the brain, mimicking this mechanism may be a way to lure the eager cancer cells to a single location where they can be easily killed.

Now researchers from Georgia Tech, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Emory University have developed a system made out of polymer nanofibers that works like a vacuum cleaner to move cells from within a tumor to a cytotoxic hydrogel where they meet their final fate. They tested the system on mice with human glioblastoma and showed that the tumors of mice treated with the nanofibers were significantly smaller than those untreated, or treated with a look-alike smooth fiber not designed to provide therapy. Here’s a Georgia Tech video report with more about the technology:

Nature MaterialsGuiding intracortical brain tumour cells to an extracortical cytotoxic hydrogel using aligned polymeric nanofibres

Georgia Tech: Researchers Hijack Cancer Migration Mechanism to “Move” Brain Tumor

Protecting Medical Staff from Toxic Drugs with EQUASHIELD

Protecting Medical Staff from Toxic Drugs with EQUASHIELD

A standard chemotherapy session necessitates the transfer of a cytotoxin from a vial to a syringe, and then to the infusion bag which delivers the drug into the bloodstream. The pressure difference during drug transfer between the vial and the syringe, and the syringe and IV bag, can release droplets into the work environment with potentially harmful consequences to the clinical staff. By providing consistent equal pressure between the syringe and vial or bag, the EQUASHIELD (Port Washington, New York) system prevents the escape of vapor droplets and provides full aerosol protection when handling dangerous drugs.

The EQUASHIELD  design relies on tightly sealed double membranes to provide connectors that remain dry and without residue despite multiple entries by the needles. It has two chambers, a liquid chamber, and an air chamber that is located at the end of the piston. Two needles provide channels through which the air and drug being administered can pass through in opposite directions. As the piston moves, one chamber’s volume increases while the other’s decreases by the same amount. Consequently, displacement of liquid from the vial is compensated by an equal amount of air that is added or subtracted from the vial.  An additional advantage of EQUASHIELD is that the fixed fully shielded needles eliminate the risk for accidental stick injuries.

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DNA-Assembled Modular Nanoparticles for Safe Tumour Targeting

DNA-Assembled Modular Nanoparticles for Safe Tumour Targeting

Some of the biggest challenges of nanotechnology applications to medicine and tumor treatments have been the effective delivery and clearance of nanoparticles. Cells and tumour sites can’t hold particles that are too big, and they quickly expel particles that are too small. Also, macrophages, the body’s defence against foreign bodies, often phagocytose and sequester particles depending on their size and surface chemistry, which leads to decreased particle delivery and potential immune toxicity. Furthermore, while larger particles have been shown to have more effective tumor destruction, they pose concerns, as larger particles cannot be cleared from the body and many of them are non-biodegradable, which could result in long-term toxicities.

A team of researchers at the University of Toronto has engineered modular nanoparticles that address some of these issues. The new technology employs the properties of DNA, using complementary strands to bind sub-6nm nanoparticles together and create “nanoparticle superstructures” whose sizes and functionalities can be optimized for uptake into cells by linking different numbers and types of particles together. The superstructures are then coated in a protective polymer coating called poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG). After delivery into cells, the linking DNA strands are slowly degraded over time via natural enzymatic reactions, cleaving the superstructures into their smaller building blocks. This enables their clearance from the cells and subsequent whole-body elimination.

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Precision Oncology: Interview with Presage Biosciences Founder Dr. James Olson

Precision Oncology: Interview with Presage Biosciences Founder Dr. James Olson

As the costs of sequencing and drug testing continue to be driven down, we’ll increasingly see technologies that take into account differences between people and even within people. The hope is that this will lead to ultra-personalized medicine. One of the most anticipated use cases is in oncology because there is even a level of heterogeneity within the same solid tumor, leading to drug ineffectiveness or even resistance. Presage Biosciences is one company that hopes to pioneer this personalized and data-driven approach, which they call ” precision oncology.”  We had the opportunity to interview its founder, Dr. James Olson, who is also a pediatric oncologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

 

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GE Introduces Invenia ABUS, an Improved Automated Breast Ultrasound System

GE Introduces Invenia ABUS, an Improved Automated Breast Ultrasound System

GE is introducing a new version of its automated breast ultrasound system at RSNA conference, the Invenia ABUS. The system provides some new automated compression tools for enhanced workflow and ergonomics, enabling the capture of whole breast 3D volumes in less time compared to previous versions.

The Invenia ABUS createss a reproducible, operator-independent result from a fully automated scan that takes around 15 minutes. It captures whole breast 3D volumes that are displayed at the workstation as coronal view slices. The system is meant to be used as an adjunct to mammography for breast cancer screening in women with dense breast tissue. According to GE, when used in addition to mammography, Invenia ABUS can improve breast cancer detection by 35.7 percent over mammography alone in women studied.

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Sumitomo Receives FDA Approval for Company’s Proton Therapy System

Sumitomo Receives FDA Approval for Company's Proton Therapy System

Sumitomo Heavy Industries, a Japanese conglomerate, has received FDA clearance for its Proton Therapy System. Sumitomo was one of the world’s first manufacturers of proton therapy systems, with its first commercial system having been released already in 1997 in Japan.

The current system has a 230MeV proton accelerator (cyclotron) and 360 degree single or multiple rotating gantries. The proton beams can reach up to a 32cm depth into the body and a rotational gantry can help irradiate at any angle and is compatible for use with respiratory gating. Also, a fixed beam room is provided with the system for treatment of head and neck tumors.

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Toshiba’s New Scalable Aquilion PRIME CT Scanner

Toshiba's New Scalable Aquilion PRIME CT Scanner

Toshiba is releasing a new version of its Aquilion PRIME CT scanner. The device was designed to be upgradable from 40 to 80 and to a maximum 160 slices and was made smaller to better fit into scan rooms.

It features a 31″ (78 cm) bore and a table capable of handling patients up to 660 lb (300 kg). Once the patient is on there, exams are speedy thanks to an image reconstruction of 60 frames a second.

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Biosafe Launches Smart-Max System for Stem Cell Processing

Biosafe Launches Smart-Max System for Stem Cell Processing

Biosafe, a company headquartered in Switzerland that manufactures processing technologies for stem cell banking and regenerative medicine, has launched its newest cell processing system called Smart-Max. The fully automated Smart-Max system, which has a touch screen interface, can be used for cell mixing, cooling, thawing, dilution, incubation and digestion. The Smart-Max system is used in tandem with the recently launched Sepax 2 system that can efficiently process umbilical cord blood, bone marrow, peripheral blood or any other blood-like material.

The two systems together offer full automation of all cell processing steps ranging from storage to cell transplant preparation. The device, which can handle cell bags of various sizes for processing, is seen as the final addition to Biosafe’s Coolmix family of devices.

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Zilico Receives CE Mark for ZedScan I Cervical Cancer Detection Device

Zilico Receives CE Mark for ZedScan I Cervical Cancer Detection Device

Medgadget previously reported on Zilico’s device for cancer detection in 2009 as a multi-centre clinical trial was underway. While the device might have changed names from APX to Zedscan, Zilico has received the CE Mark approval for its commercial distribution in Europe. The ZedScan is able to help accurately diagnose cervical cancer based on the differences in electrical resistance between normal, pre-cancerous, and cancerous tissue. This fact is what inspired the ZedScan name. The” Z” is the symbol for impedence, “E” stands for the EIS (electrical impedance spectroscopy) technology , “D” for device, and “Scan” because that’s what it does.

Between 2000 and 2013, five clinical studies have been conducted using the ZedScan and its previous incarnations, for a total of 920 patients recruited.  Colposcopists had a 73.6% HG-CIN detection success rate, but multiple biopsies were required to achieve this. When using the ZedScan to assist in identifying potential cancerous areas, the rate jumped to 88.5% and required only a single biopsy. By increasing the accuracy on the very first attempt, ZedScan reduces the number of biopsies required. This clearly has both clinical benefits as well as economic ones.

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