November 2023 Digital Health Round Up

November 2023 Digital Health Round Up

Scientists and researchers are using technology to advance the fight against cancer, inventing machines to help with prevention and treatment of the disease. A simple finger stick test has been developed to help brain cancer patients monitor for recurrence from home. Scientists have invented a machine to help produce T cells quickly for immunotherapy treatments. A non-invasive device that uses ultrasound waves offers hope for liver cancer treatment.

Finger-Prick Test Could Help Spot Brain Cancer Recurrence Sooner

Scientists at University of Sheffield and Nottingham Trent University are developing the world’s first finger-prick test to spot brain tumors. More than 300,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with brain cancer each year, and while treatments have improved over the last few decades, recurrence remains a risk. It is a finger-prick test using medical technology of the lateral flow test. This test is easy to use and affordable. It can detect molecules in the blood that are specific to the patient’s tumor so it can catch recurrence early. The risk of brain cancer recurring is significant and can aggressively spread if not caught early. Instead of MRI ‘s every six months, this simple test could be done weekly, at home, to monitor for the cancer coming back.

Machine Can Quickly Produce Needed Cells for Cancer Treatment

In the journal Biotechnology Progress, Washington State University researchers have reported that they developed a mini-fridge sized bioreactor that is able to manufacture the cells, called T cells, at 95% of the maximum growth rate about 30% faster than current technologies. These T cells can be used for immunotherapy treatment to help fight cancer. Cart therapy can be challenging due to the cost and time required to grow the amount of T cells needed. Scientists applied 40 years of research, made this bioreactor using centrifugal force to grow the cells. It is made with a sterile cabinet so it can be used in a bigger variety of circumstances. The scientist’s goal is to make enough cells for three treatments immunotherapy within three days.

This Non-Invasive Device Blasts Apart Tumors with Sound Waves

 This week, the US Food and Drug administration gave the green light to a device that uses ultrasound waves to blast apart tumors in the liver. This technique, which requires no needles, injections, knives, or drugs, it’s called histotripsy, and it’s being developed by a company called HistoSonics. This machine sends high energy ultrasound waves to the tumor and that action makes micro bubbles. When the micro bubbles breakdown, it stresses the tumor cells, causing the tumor to break apart. The small bits are then taken out by the patient’s own immune system, which in turn helps the immune system recognize and remember the cancer cells to help prevent recurrence. The whole process is painless with a faster recovery time. This machine uses imaging and a robotic arm for a more precise aim, saving more healthy tissue.