DURHAM, N.C. — A biomedical tool device designed by a Duke Engineer is now on a fast track for human trials by the FDA, according to Duke University.
The device known as the Tumor Monorail, mimics the physical properties of the brain’s white matter. By doing so, it allows the aggressive tumors to move toward the exterior of the brain where they can be collected and removed. This, in turn, halts the lethal spread making it more of a condition to manage, according to Duke University.
The device was made by Duke Engineering Dean, Ravi Bellamkonda who first started the research while at Georgia Tech. A prototype was tested on rats. It played Pied Piper to glioblastoma cells by enticing them to migrate toward a repository filled with toxic gel, according to Duke University.
“This was the first demonstration that you can engineer migration inside the body and move a tumor from point A to point B by design,” said Bellamkonda. “It was also the first demonstration of bringing the tumor to your drug rather than your drug going into the brain and killing valuable cells.”
A neurosurgeon at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta said the device allows clinicians the ability to surgically treat tumors with a minimal approach.
Researchers are now working to prove its safe through human clinical trials.