Researchers have developed a small device that can test multiple treatments for challenging brain cancers, such as gliomas, all at once. This new device is about the size of a grain of rice.
This device implanted into a patient’s brain during surgery and removed afterward, providing real-time information on how drugs affect the tumor environment. It’s a big step forward in personalizing treatment for these cancers.
“In order to make the greatest impact on how we treat these tumors, we need to be able to understand, early on, which drug works best for any given patient,”Co-principal investigator and co-corresponding author Pierpaolo Peruzzi, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Gliomas are both common and extremely hard to treat brain and spinal cord tumors. Testing different drug combinations in these tumors has been difficult because patients can only receive one treatment at a time.
To overcome this challenge, scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital created a microdevice that can implanted in a patient’s tumor during surgery. This device can deliver small doses of up to 20 different drugs directly into the tumor.
“It’s important that we are able to do this in a way that best captures the features of each patient’s tumor and, at the same time, is the least disruptive of the standard of care,”
“This makes our approach easy to integrate into patients’ treatment and allows its use in real life.”Co-principal investigator and co-corresponding author Pierpaolo Peruzzi, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
This allows them to assess how these drugs impact the tumor microenvironment – the cells surrounding the cancer cells – which is crucial for understanding the tumor’s behavior.
In a recent clinical trial involving six patients, this device was proven safe and collected valuable data on how drugs affected the tumor. Now, researchers are working on how to use this data to treat glioma therapy. They’re also exploring a less invasive version of the procedure, where patients receive the device before their main surgery.
This innovative approach brings the lab directly to the patient, offering new possibilities for personalized medicine in a field with limited treatment options. It’s a significant step toward improving the outlook for patients with gliomas.