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Implantable Micro Device for Pancreatic Cancer

10/14/16      We have blogged a lot recently about micro component sized medical device implants. They are changing the way the medical field treats patients. We have been involved in many designs and production of these micro devices and continue to focus our attention in this fast growing area.
Pancreatic cancer’s 5 year survival rate is below 6%. Pancreatic tumors are hard to treat because the pancreas is so deep within the body, the tumors have few blood vessels, and the tumors are often surrounded by a thick, fibrous coating that keeps drugs out. A small, implantable device that delivers chemotherapy drugs directly to these tumors was developed to address the challenging location of the pancreas. It is a thin flexible film made from the polymer PLGA, which is widely used for drug delivery and other medical applications. The film is rolled into a narrow tube and inserted through a catheter. Once the film reaches the pancreas, it unfolds and conforms to the shape of the tumor. Drugs are embedded into the film and then released over a preprogrammed period of time. The film is designed so that the drug is only secreted from the side in contact with the tumor, minimizing side effects on nearby organs.

A clinical trial was done on mice. In most mice the tumor stopped growing and in some the tumor shrank. The researchers are now preparing to design a clinical trial for human patients. While they began this project with a focus on pancreatic cancer, they expect that this approach could also be useful in treating other tumors that are difficult to reach.