Tumour growth measured via microchip implant
A team of scientific researchers have developed a microchip which, when implanted into the body, can monitor and measure the growth of tumours, BBC News is reporting.
The device apparently works by tracking oxygen levels in the tissue surrounding the tumour, which indicates if and how the tumour is expanding.
The microchip is able to drastically reduce the need for frequent trips to hospital for scans as the results are wirelessly transmitted back to the patient’s doctor.
A severe drop in oxygen levels would indicate a growth spurt and delivering this information directly to doctors gives them the opportunity to decide if the tumour is increasing in size.
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It is hoped the microchip implant will eventually be able to carry drugs directly to the site of the tumour and in turn make way for more specifically targeted but less aggressive treatments for cancer.
Scientists from Munich’s Technical University believe the method is ideal in treating hard-to-reach growths.
BBC News have quoted the project manager, Sven Becker, as saying: “There are some tumours which are hard to remove - for example, close to the spine.
“You run the risk of cutting the nerve if you remove them surgically, or the problem may be that the tumour is growing slowly, but the patient is elderly.
“In these cases it's better to monitor the tumour, and only treat it if there's a strong growth phase,” he added.
Becker also described how the microchip treatment would benefit patients: “In traditional chemotherapy you put drugs into the whole body - which can have awful side effects.
“We want to add a pump to our chip, so if the sensor detects growth, you can apply microscopic amounts directly to the tumour.
“Patients can be treated more quickly and with fewer side effects, because it's local.”
Although the microchip is in the first stages of development, the researchers believe there is the potential for it to be available to use in a medical setting in 10 years time.
Microsoft launches Tech for Social Impact for elderly care
Microsoft Tech for Social Impact, the tech giant's division offering tools for non profit organisations, has announced it is expanding to include aged care non profits around the world.
This means that non profit organisations helping elderly residents in nursing homes or with other daily support will now be eligible for technology grants and discounts of up to 75%, as well as training and capacity building to help with digital transformation.
The care home sector has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, caring for some of the most vulnerable people in society. As a result organisations around the world have been deploying innovative technologies, such as IoT to create monitoring solutions that enable independent living, through to AI-driven robots that provide companionship as well as alert the user's care team if there are any changes to their symptoms.
The German Red Cross (DRK) is an early adopter that is already benefitting from this programme expansion as part of Microsoft Tech for Social's pilot scheme. DRK provides services and assistance to over 40,000 people at more than 500 aged care facilities in Germany, with a further 90,000 receiving care in their own homes.
Thanks to Microsoft 365 cloud technologies such as SharePoint and OneDrive, along with Teams for communication, DRK was able to continue its daily work even at the height of the pandemic crisis. Residents of DRK facilities used Teams to keep in touch with relatives despite restrictions to visits, and there are plans to continue using these channels in the future to prevent isolation among residents.
Following the pilot’s success, the programme will offer discounts and grants to eligible organisations for its Microsoft cloud stack including Business Applications, Azure and Modern Work, leveraging the firm's sector-specific tools with Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit which will be generally available in the second half of 2021.
Microsoft estimate that around 75,000 new non profit organisations around the world will be eligible for the programme.