Lab-in-a-patient Microdevices for Next-Generation Precision Medicine
The ability to predict the optimal therapy for an individual patient is a major unmet need in the treatment of cancer and other diseases.
We have developed implantable microdevices that are capable of testing the phenotypic response of a large number of different anti-cancer agents within the native tumor tissue in a rapid, parallel, minimally invasive assay without inducing systemic toxicities. Up to 100 distinct therapies can be tested in a single tumor, providing insight into efficacy, signaling pathway inhibition and pharmacodynamics for each treatment option. These measurements may be used to guide treatment decisions in patients, or to obtain early drug efficacy for novel therapies. Using multiple optical modalities integrated into the microdevices using miniaturized fiber optics, we are able to monitor the action of each drug in real time. This approach provides new insight into drug action within tumors, and the information may be used to tailor a patient’s therapy for optimal response with minimal side effects. One focus of my work is translating the technology into clinical use, where the microdevice is currently used in an ongoing trial in breast cancer patients.