The THOR initiative will primarily focus on challenging-to-treat tumors, including ovarian, pancreatic, and...
Digital Desk: In a monumental stride towards revolutionizing cancer treatment, a team of scientists at Rice University in the United States has secured a substantial $45 million in funding. The grant, awarded to a consortium of researchers spanning seven different states, aims to accelerate the development of a groundbreaking sense-and-respond implant technology that has the potential to reduce cancer-related deaths by more than 50 percent.
Under the leadership of Rice University, this interdisciplinary group, composed of engineers, healthcare professionals, and specialists spanning fields such as synthetic biology, materials science, immunology, oncology, electrical engineering, and artificial intelligence, will work collaboratively on a project dubbed THOR. The acronym stands for "targeted hybrid oncotherapeutic regulation." At the heart of THOR's innovative approach is the development of a cutting-edge implant known as HAMMR, short for "hybrid advanced molecular manufacturing regulator."
Unlike traditional cancer treatments, which often require patients to be tethered to hospital beds, IV bags, and external monitors, THOR's HAMMR implant offers a minimally invasive solution. The device will continuously monitor a patient's cancer status and adjust their immunotherapy dosage in real-time, thereby increasing the efficacy of treatment.
Rice bioengineer Omid Veiseh, the principal investigator on the ARPA-H cooperative agreement, expressed his enthusiasm for the project, stating, "Instead of tethering patients to hospital beds, IV bags, and external monitors, we'll use a minimally invasive procedure to implant a small device that continuously monitors their cancer and adjusts their immunotherapy dose in real-time."
This approach, known as closed-loop therapy, has previously been successful in managing conditions like diabetes, with a constant feedback loop between an insulin pump and a glucose monitor.
One of the co-principal investigators, Dr. Amir Jazaeri, a professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, highlighted the importance of real-time data in cancer treatment. "Cancer cells are continually evolving and adapting to therapy," he noted. "THOR could transform the status quo by providing real-time data from the tumor environment that can guide more effective and tumor-informed novel therapies."
The THOR initiative will primarily focus on challenging-to-treat tumors, including ovarian, pancreatic, and other malignancies. Its potential application extends to peritoneal cancers affecting organs such as the pancreas, liver, and lungs.
With the infusion of $45 million in funding, the THOR team is poised to accelerate their research and development efforts, bringing us one step closer to a future where cancer treatment is not only more effective but also less intrusive for patients. The impact of this innovative technology could be nothing short of revolutionary, offering hope to countless individuals battling cancer worldwide.