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Small Implanted Device Could Improve Breast Cancer Survival

Small Implanted Device Could Improve Breast Cancer Survival

(Copyright Fotolia)

By    |   Thursday, 15 September 2016 03:27 PM

A small device implanted under the skin can improve breast cancer survival by catching cancer cells and slowing the spread of metastatic cancer, also called advanced or stage IV cancer.


The new scaffold device, which is being developed by researchers at the University of Michigan, can extend survival by identifying metastatic cancer early, and allowing time to intervene with surgery or other therapies.


"This study shows that in the metastatic setting, early detection combined with a therapeutic intervention can improve outcomes," said study author Lonnie D. Shea, Ph.D.

"Early detection of a primary tumor is generally associated with improved outcomes. But that’s not necessarily been tested in metastatic cancer."

The study, which was conducted on mice, expands on earlier research showing that the implantable scaffold device effectively captures metastatic cancer cells.

In the current study, researchers improved the device and showed that surgery prior to the first signs of metastatic cancer improved survival.

"Currently, early signs of metastasis can be difficult to detect," said study author Jacqueline S. Jeruss, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Breast Care Center at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"Imaging may be done once a patient experiences symptoms, but that implies the burden of disease may already be substantial," said Jeruss.

"Improved detection methods are needed to identify metastasis at a point when targeted treatments can have a significant beneficial impact on slowing disease progression."

The scaffold is made of FDA-approved material commonly used in sutures and wound dressings. It’s biodegradable and can last up to two years within a patient.

The researchers envision that it would be implanted under the skin, monitored with non-invasive imaging, and removed upon signs of cancer cell colonization, at which point treatment could be administered.

The device is designed to mimic the environment in other organs before cancer cells migrate there.

The scaffold attracts the body’s immune cells, and the immune cells draw in the cancer cells. This then limits the immune cells from heading to the lung, liver or brain, where breast cancer commonly spreads.

The study, which was reported in Cancer Research, found a detectable percentage of tumor cells within the scaffold five days after implanting tumors in mice, but none in the lung, liver or brain, suggesting that the cancer cells hit the scaffold first.

At 15 days after tumor implantation, they found 64 percent fewer cancer cells in the liver and 75 percent fewer cancer cells in the brains of mice with scaffolds compared to mice without scaffolds.

This suggests that the presence of the scaffold slows the progress of metastatic disease.

The researchers removed the tumors at day 10, which is after detection but before substantial spreading, and found the mice that had the scaffold in place survived longer than mice that did not have a scaffold.

Researchers caution that the system is designed to detect the spread of cancer and is not a cure.

The scaffold won’t prevent metastatic disease or reverse disease progression for patients with established metastatic cancer.

Cancers become deadly when they grow and begin to spread throughout the body.

According to the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, approximately 155,000 Americans are currently living with metastatic breast cancer.

An estimated 20 to 30 percent of people initially diagnosed with early stage breast cancer will develop metastatic disease, which causes approximately 40,000 deaths a year in the United States.

 

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A small device implanted under the skin can improve breast cancer survival by catching cancer cells and slowing the spread of metastatic cancer, also called advanced or stage IV cancer. The new scaffold device, which is being developed by researchers at the University of...
implanted, scaffold, device, breast, cancer, survival
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2016-27-15
Thursday, 15 September 2016 03:27 PM
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