Researchers at Rutgers University have developed a new portable device that can assess if cancer cells thrive after chemotherapy treatment.
This device utilizes artificial intelligence and biosensors and is up to 95.9 percent precise in counting live cancer cells when passing through electrodes, according to research published in journal Microsystems & Nanoengineering.
“We built a portable platform that can predict whether patients will respond positively to targeted cancer therapy,” said senior author Mehdi Javanmard, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
The device delivers instant outcomes and will enable more patient-specific procedures as well as better management and detection of cancer. It can analyze cells quickly without staining them, enabling further molecular analysis and instantaneous outcomes. Current systems depend on staining, which limits cancer cell characterization.
“Our technology combines artificial intelligence and sophisticated biosensors that handle tiny amounts of fluids to see if cancer cells are sensitive or resistant to chemotherapy drugs” added Mehdi Javanmard.
Cancer remains to be one of the major causes of death across the globe. Cancer treatment often involves drugs that can kill tumor cells, but chemotherapy destroys both tumor cells and healthy cells, this collateral damage results side effects such as hair loss and gastrointestinal problems. So, if a personalized targeted therapy can be found – one that cut down the choice of drugs to only those with the best cancer-killing firepower for that specific patient – then it’s good news all round.
“We envision using this new device as a point-of-care diagnostic tool for assessing patient response and personalization of therapeutics,” the study says.
Co-author Joseph R. Bertino, a professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and his team previously created a therapeutic approach targetting cancer cells, such as those in B-cell lymphoma, multiple myeloma and epithelial carcinomas. It binds a chemotherapy drug to an antibody so only tumor cells are targeted, and minimizes interaction with healthy cells. If the patient’s tumor cells produce a protein called matriptase, patients will react favorably to this treatment. Many patients will benefit from minimized side effects of conventional chemotherapy.
“Novel technologies like this can really have a positive impact on the standard-of-care and result in cost-savings for both healthcare providers and patients,” Bertino said.
The research team at Rutgers University tested its new device using cancer cell samples treated with different concentrations of a targeted anticancer drug. This device detects whether a cell is alive based on the changes in its electrical properties as the cell moves through a small fluidic hole. The next step involves tests on the patient’s tumor samples. The researchers hope the device will eventually be used to test cancer treatment on samples of patient tumors before the actual treatment is administered.