Innovative 3-D Printed Sponge Traps Excess Chemo Drugs

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A team of researchers from University of California, San Francisco, developed a unique device, which could extract the excess drugs from the area of a tumor treated under chemotherapy.

The innovative sponge is a tiny object that can be inserted into veins near a tumor to decrease the harmful side effects of cancer treatment by trapping excess drugs before they spread through the body. The device promotes the filtering abilities of a fuel cell into the blood vessels of living organisms.

The researchers used 3-D printing to demonstrate their approach by implanting the tiny, cylindrical sponge in the body of pigs. The sponge could absorb excess drug before it spreads through the body. The findings were published in the journal ACS Central Science, online on January 9, 2019.

Eleni Liapi, a radiologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research, said: “The study addresses a major need, existing methods for controlling chemotherapy delivery do not fully block drug escape. A technological advancement to reduce unwanted circulating drug is always welcome.”

The researchers are hopeful to launch the human study of the sponge for reducing pain during cancer treatments and absorption of excess drugs through it.

Transarterial chemo embolization technique is used upon tens of thousands of people each year, some of the injected drug bypasses the tumor site and slips into general circulation, which could be dangerous for the body elsewhere. This device might be useful for such technique in the near future.

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Latisha Diaz is a general assignment reporter at Plains Gazette. She has covered sports, entertainment and many other beats in his journalism career, and has lived in City Houston for more than 8 years. Latisha has appeared periodically on national television shows and has been published in (among others) The National Post, Politico, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Wired.com, Vice and Salon.com.