Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Wireless Sensor Transmits Tumor Pressure


Novel technology could one day help determine optimal window for cancer treatment

The interstitial pressure inside a tumor is often remarkably high compared to normal tissues and is thought to impede the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents as well as decrease the effectiveness of radiation therapy. While medications exist that temporarily decrease tumor pressure, identifying the optimal window to initiate treatment—when tumor pressure is lowest—remains a challenge. With support from NIBIB, researchers at Purdue University have developed a novel sensor that can wirelessly relay pressure readings from inside a tumor.

Babak Ziaie, PhD, Purdue University

Wireless interstitial fluid pressure sensor shown to scale on a dime.

Contents under Pressure

Tumors, like healthy tissues, need oxygen and nutrients to survive. In order to accommodate the demands of a growing tumor, blood vessels from surrounding tissue begin to grow into the tumor. Yet, unlike normal tissue, these newly formed blood vessels are disorganized, twisty, and leaky. It’s thought that the high pressure observed in tumors is a result of these abnormal blood vessels, which leak fluid and proteins into the area between tumor cells, known as the interstitial space.

In normal tissues, tightly regulated differences in pressure pull nutrients out of a tissue’s blood vessels and into the interstitial space, where they can be taken up by cells. Medications travelling through the blood also rely on these pressure differences in order to reach cells. When pressure in the interstitial space increases—as is the case in many tumors—medications are less apt to leave blood vessels. As a result, patients who have tumors with high interstitial pressure often receive a less than adequate dose of chemotherapy or other types of anti-cancer drugs. In addition, high interstitial pressure can also contribute to low oxygen levels in tumors. Because radiation therapy requires the presence of oxygen to be effective, tumors with high interstitial pressure are often less receptive to radiation therapy.

Window of Opportunity

Results from recent clinical trials and studies in animals suggest that a class of anti-cancer drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors may be able to temporarily reduce interstitial pressure and improve the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Angiogenesis inhibitors prevent the growth of new blood vessels and have long been investigated as a way to stop tumor growth. Recently, it has been hypothesized that there is a brief window after these drugs are given in which blood flow to tumors is actually normalized. This window provides an opportunity to more efficiently deliver chemotherapeutic drugs and radiation therapy.

However, because efficient methods for measuring interstitial tumor pressure are lacking, determining the optimal time to begin chemotherapy or radiation treatment within this normalization window remains a challenge.

“Right now, the only option for measuring pressure is to stick a needle inside the tumor. That’s not practical for clinical applications,” says Babak Ziaie, Ph.D, director of the Biomedical Microdevices Laboratory at Purdue University.

A Wireless Pressure Sensor

After conversations with radiation oncologists with whom he collaborates, Ziaie decided to take on the challenge of creating a tumor pressure sensor. He was enticed by the novelty of the project. “No one had done this before,” said Ziaie. “No one was working on it or even attempting it.”

With support from NIBIB, Ziaie and his research team created a novel sensor that can be implanted into a tumor to wirelessly transmit interstitial fluid pressure readings. The sensor is an adaptation of a technology developed in the 1950s called the Guyton capsule, which is a perforated capsule that, once implanted, allows interstitial fluid to flow through it. Subsequent insertion of a needle into the capsule provides direct access to the interstitial fluid for pressure measurements.

Using special microfabrication techniques, Ziaie created a miniaturized wireless pressure sensor and combined it with a Guyton-like capsule so that it could generate interstitial pressure readings without the use of a needle and that could be read remotely.

Recently, Ziaie and his team tested the device by implanting it into pancreatic tumors in mice and were able to show a decrease in interstitial tumor pressure following administration of an angiogenic inhibitor.

“This is a great example of the power of convergence science,” said Tiffani Lash, PhD, program director for sensor technologies at NIBIB. “Integrating knowledge from the life and physical sciences with engineering concepts can help solve important clinical problems. It’s about thinking creatively to generate novel ways to treat disease.”

Margot Kern
Phone: 301-496-3500

Margot Kern | newswise

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Münster researchers make a fly’s heartbeat visible / Software automatically recognizes pulse
12.03.2018 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

nachricht 3-D-written model to provide better understanding of cancer spread
05.03.2018 | Purdue University

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>