Though much more research must be done before the technique can be tested in humans, McDonald and Scarberry envision a system very similar to what kidney dialysis patients now use, but with a buffer solution circulated through the peritoneal cavity to pick up the cancer cells.
"What we are developing is akin to hemofiltration or peritoneal dialysis in which the patient could come into a clinic and be hooked up to the device a couple of times a week," said Scarberry. "The treatment is not heavily invasive, so it could be repeated often."
The new treatment could be used in conjunction with existing chemotherapy and radiation. Reducing the number of free-floating cancer cells could allow a reduction in chemotherapy, which often has debilitating side effects, Scarberry said. The new treatment system could be used to capture spilled cancer cells immediately after surgery on a primary tumor.
The researchers hope to have a prototype circulation and filtration device ready for testing within three years. After that will come studies into the best treatment regimen, examining such issues as the number of magnetic nanoparticles to use, the number of treatments and treatment spacing. If those are successful, the company will work with the FDA to design human clinical trials.
The researchers also studying how their magnetic nanoparticles could be engineered to capture ovarian cancer stem cells, which are not affected by existing chemotherapy. Removing those cells could help eliminate a potent source of new cancer cells.
The research has been supported by the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA), the Ovarian Cancer Institute, the Robinson Family Foundation and the Deborah Nash Harris Endowment. A member of Georgia Tech's ATDC startup accelerator program and a GRA VentureLab company, Sub-Micro has also raised private funding to support its prototype de
|Contact: John Toon|
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News