In-body GPS tracks tumor movement in the bodyResearchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Laboratory have developed a wireless system that acts like an in-body GPS, allowing doctors to use sensors to track tumors or dispense drugs.
The system, known as the ReMix, is able to pinpoint the location of ingestible implants inside the body by using low-power wireless signals. The researchers tested the system in animal tests and were able to show that they could track implants with centimeter-level accuracy. They suggest that similar systems could one day be used to deliver drugs to different regions in the body.
To test the ReMix system, the researcher implanted a small marker in animal tissues. They tracked its movements using a wireless device that reflected radio signals at the patient. A special algorithm could pinpoint the exact location of the marker. The implant itself does not transmit a wireless signal. Instead, it reflects a signal that is transmitted by the device that is outside of the body.
The ReMix system could be used for proton therapy which involves exposing cancerous tumors with beams of magnet-controlled protons. The new approach means doctors can prescribe higher doses of radiation. However, the approach requires high precision, which means the treatment is limited to only certain cancers.