Researchers from Stanford, USC, Georgia Tech and the University of Tokyo have developed a battery-powered digital health wearable device that attaches to the skin and can measure tumor size continuously and in real time, offering hope for progress in cancer research and treatment.
Researchers have developed wearable digital health sensors that can track the size of a tumor, a key factor in determining the effectiveness of cancer drugs.
The FAST (Flexible Autonomous Sensor Measuring Tumors) device, a battery-powered patch that adheres to the skin, measures the voltage on the membrane surrounding the tumor in real time and transmits the data to a smartphone app. It has the potential to replace the traditional compass and bioluminescence method of tracking tumors, allowing healthcare providers to understand a drug’s effectiveness in days instead of weeks.
“This work is a great example of how wearable electronics can advance precision health technologies – we can monitor tumor growth with a resolution of tens of microns by simply using a sensor and an app to cellphone”, Yasser Khanassistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Southern California, said in a press release. “We can observe progression 24/7, unlike all existing imaging techniques, and tell precisely if a drug is acting on the tumor and not on it.”
Researchers from Stanford University, USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering, Georgia Tech and the University of Tokyo have teamed up to develop the wearable, which could dramatically improve cancer research and treatment.
“It’s a deceptively simple design”, Alex Abramson, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Georgia Tech and first author of the study, said in the press release. “But these inherent benefits should be of great interest to the pharmaceutical and oncology communities. FAST could dramatically speed up, automate and reduce the cost of the cancer therapy screening process. »
Armed with newer and more refined technology, researchers around the world have developed wearable digital health devices for clinical treatment and research. Some have redesigned commercial smartwatches and fitness bands or added technology, while others have worked with smart glasses, jewelry, hearing aids and clothing. Still others are developing ingestibles, bandages, patches, and tattoos that can track and collect data from the body and transmit that information through digital health apps to healthcare teams or researchers.
In this case, the researchers say that the FAST device has three advantages over traditional care:
- It provides real-time continuous monitoring;
- The sensor attached to the patch is sensitive to a hundredth of a millimeter, allowing researchers to track tiny changes to a tumor that might not be detected by other methods; and
- The device is non-invasive, attaches to the skin like a bandage and is reusable.
Eric Wicklund is the innovation and technology editor for HealthLeaders.