The researchers at the
The programme’s principal investigator Dr. Condeelis previously used a multiphoton confocal microscope to directly observe cellular interactions in the tumour microenvironment of live animal models of breast cancer. By placing an artificial blood vessel near tumours, he was able to collect motile cancer cells for study and to predict by the presence or absence of certain signalling molecules whether the tumour cells have the potential to metastasise.
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The microchip will be assembled from nanoscale components so that several different functions can be carried out within a very small package. The goal is to implant these 0.1mm microchips in human tumours, where they would remain for days or weeks. The chips would report remotely to scanners on the nature of the cells that infiltrate them, in particular, on whether metastatic cells are present that would call for more aggressive cancer therapy.