MIT researchers develop in-body GPS system to treat cancer

MIT researchers develop in-body GPS system to treat cancer
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Pixabay
21 Aug, 2018

Researchers from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed an ‘in-body GPS’ system called ReMix.

According to a blog post by MIT, the system can detect ingestible implants in the body using low-power wireless signals. The implants can work as tracking devices to identify shifting tumors.

The research team also claimed that similar implants can transport drugs to specific regions in the body, the blog post stated.

Led by Professor Dina Katabi, the MIT team collaborated with researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to develop ReMix. They had tested the system on animal tissues.

The blog post stated that ReMix can be used in proton therapy, which is a cancer treatment method. However, the implants in the system can be used only for certain types of cancer as it requires a high degree of precision. It cannot be used to treat tumors that move, but only those that remain at a fixed location during radiation treatment.

ReMix is still not accurate enough to be used in a clinical environment, the blog post added.

The team will be presenting a paper on ReMix at a conference in Budapest, Hungary this week called the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Data Communications (SIGCOMM).

“The ability to continuously sense inside the human body has largely been a distant dream. One of the roadblocks has been wireless communication to a device and its continuous localization. ReMix makes a leap in this direction by showing that the wireless component of implantable devices may no longer be the bottleneck,” Romit Roy Choudhury, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Illinois, who was not involved in the research, was quoted as saying in the blog post.