Autonomous implant for patient-friendly cancer treatment

Micropump system for cancer treatment
© Fraunhofer EMFT / Bernd Müller
Micropump system for patient-friendly cancer therapy

When a cancer tumor starts to metastasize, the chances of the patient recovering get significantly worse. Metastases are particularly dangerous in the case of malignant tumors: in spite of numerous attempts, no effective treatment has yet been found to stop the process. Fraunhofer EMFT is now pursuing a new approach for patient-friendly cancer treatment with an industrial partner.

Cytostatics are powerful drugs used to treat cancer. They reach almost all cells in the body, killing healthy cells besides the cancer cells in the process. The aim of the project is to use the silicon, bubble-tolerant MEMS micropump developed by Fraunhofer EMFT (TUDOS – Tumor Dosing) as the core element of an autonomous implant to combat meningeal metastases. By means of metronomic dosing to the microliter directly by the implant into the tumor, healthy cells can be left unharmed. Thus it will be possible to maintain the therapeutic level as the basis for an entirely modernized and more patient-friendly cancer treatment.

Outlook

In addition to precise analysis of dosing stability in long-term testing of the pumped cytostatic, the interaction between the micropump and the active agent is investigated, so as to prepare micropumps for medical examinations. This progress could be a key factor in future: after all, metastases are still the biggest stumbling block in the fight for survival against cancer.