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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K034510/1
Title: Implantable Microsystems for Personalised Anti-Cancer Therapy
Principal Investigator: Murray, Professor AF
Other Investigators:
Walton, Professor AJ Kunkler, Professor I Smith, Dr S
UNDERWOOD, Professor I Bradley, Professor M Tait, Professor J
Argyle, Professor D McLaughlin, Professor S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Engineering
Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Scheme: Programme Grants
Starts: 27 May 2013 Ends: 31 May 2019 Value (£): 4,300,968
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electronic Devices & Subsys. Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
21 Feb 2013 Programme Grant Interviews - 21 & 22 February 2013 (Engineering) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Cancer is a well-known and much-feared killer disease, accounting for over a million deaths each year in Europe alone. Currently, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are the primary forms of treatment. They are delivered on a regular (often weekly) schedule based on the experience of clinicians and the availability of equipment and staff for treatment, to locations that are determined by the results of CT or MRI scanning. Chemotherapy is generally administered systemically, either as an injection or orally and thus affects regions of the body that have nothing to do with the tumour.

IMPACT(*) will develop tiny silicon chips to be placed inside the patient's body, close to a tumour to measure the cancer's "activity" very precisely in both space and time. The chips will measure simple quantities such as acidity, temperature and oxygen concentration and also more complex and difficult quantities such as the levels of particular proteins that indicate the status of the tumour and the death of cancer cells within it. They will concentrate on measuring the tumour's current vulnerability to radio- and chemo-therapy, and thus where and when that therapy should be targeted. With this knowledge, radiotherapy can be delivered to the right place and the right time to do maximum damage to a tumour. Similarly, by further developing a miniaturised, on-chip drug-delivery capability to protect its sensors from "biofouling", IMPACT paves the way for systems that can also administer chemotherapy to the right place and at the right time.

The work in IMPACT is therefore designed to meet a clinical priority that has been stressed by cancer specialists. The scientific and technical challenges are, however to Chemists and (silicon) Engineers. Sensors must be developed, many of them entirely novel, which make the correct measurements. These sensors must then be placed on silicon, with all the support circuits, wireless communications and safety features that this implanted medical diagnostic and therapeutic system needs.

IMPACT is therefore led by a team of engineers, chemists and both medical and veterinary clinicians. It also includes social scientists, as its results have the potential to revolutionise the way in which cancers are treated. IMPACT's implication is that the timing and location of treatment will be highly patient-specific. Careful consideration of the ethics, risks and regulation of such technology is vital from its inception as IMPACT's success will challenge both patients' perceptions and the organisation and scheduling of therapy.

It will also save many lives.

(*) Implantable Microsystems for Personalised Anti-Cancer Therapy.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.ed.ac.uk