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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X017516/1
Title: Photodynamic Therapy via Implantable Microsystems for Cancer Treatment
Principal Investigator: Flynn, Professor D
Other Investigators:
Cooper, Professor J Imran, Professor MA Oien, Dr KA
Heidari, Professor H
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Digital Health and Care Institute Medical Device Manufacturing Centre
Department: School of Engineering
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 May 2023 Ends: 31 October 2024 Value (£): 202,081
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
21 Jun 2022 New Horizons 2021 Full Proposal Panel Announced
23 Jun 2022 New Horizons Electronic and Electical Engineering Panel June 2022 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The PATIENT research project hypothesizes that time-critical and curative treatment for bladder cancer can be revolutionised by creating implantable microsystems for a world-first in-situ photodynamic therapy (PDT). Through the complex optimisation and integration of photoactive, porous, and high surface area polymers within a wireless implantable microsystem, we aim to deliver in-situ Singlet Oxygen to enhance tumour cell kill either as a monotherapy or in combination with radiotherapy. This revolutionary new technology has the potential to address the unmet clinical needs of Bladder Cancer associated with late detection, limited treatment options, and a high mortality rate.

Current clinical utilisation of PDT is impeded by the associated uptake of the photosensitizer in healthy normal tissue leading to toxicity when exposed to light and difficulties in penetrating the light source to deeper photosensitised cancerous tissues to activate the treatment. The wirelessly powered implantable microsystem targets these two primary limitations as it is designed to enable repeated singlet oxygen at the point of clinical interest because of the incorporation of a micro-light-emitting diode (micro-LED). The controlled delivery of singlet oxygen will sensitise malignant cells to radiation, with the microsystem body being used as an implanted marker for radiotherapy alignment. An extension of this creative concept, that exploits smart, functional materials within a nanoengineering hierarchy coupled with advanced wireless design is that functionalised polymer coatings can be used for post-treatment monitoring of precursor detection of cancer reoccurrence. This will provide a curative treatment pathway via a low-cost enabling technology to improve survival rates, reduce patient side-effects, and create a new post-treatment support option for cancer patients.

The potential reward of the PATIENT project is that we will create a new cancer treatment that addresses an unmet clinical need, improving the survival rates for bladder cancer patients. The activation of the medical implant via an external excitation system will also positively impact waiting times, which are vital in high consequence medical interventions for cancer patients. The functionalised polymers in the nanoengineered microsystem will provide both ongoing medical treatment and post-treatment care to detect cancer reoccurrence precursors. Beyond cancer treatment, health boards across the UK are under unprecedented pressure, as evident with over 6 million patients on NHS England waiting lists. COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenges facing UK healthcare provision. The foundational learning within this project, could initiate a new generation of cyber-physical medical assistants that utilise implantable microsystems, providing affordable point of care treatment and diagnostics supporting accessibility (equity) in healthcare provision, reduction of escalating NHS costs, supporting workforce resilience due to levels of demand, and creating a responsive capability to the demands of an aging society with growing long-term care requirements.

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Organisation Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk