Medical imaging are almost always invasive, particularly if the objective is to continuously monitor markers inside human bodies. A key factor plaguing development of such a technology is the wireless transmission of the signals from the markers reliably and accurately. A recent work seems to have made a large stride in this direction. Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Massachusetts have developed a system what they call in-body GPS that can track the location of ingestible implants inside an animal model with remarkable accuracy—centimeter-level accuracy—inside animal model. The system called ReMix was developed in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The investigators used wireless device to track the signals and filtered these with the help of a diode so as to distinguish them against the misplaced signals emanated by the skin of the patient.
Potentially promising applications of ReMix can be many: delivering drugs to specific regions inside the human body and determine the exact location to tumor to increase the success rate of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Semiconductor Device used to pick up Relevant Signals
The researchers tested the device in animal tissues by putting an implant inside animal tissues. The marker reflected the radio signals sent by a wireless device that is kept outside the body. The signal marked the exact location of the marker. The signals are low-power so as not to have any harmful effect on animal tissues and don’t need any external source of energy. However, what really proved a bottleneck was similar signals emanating from the skin of the organism which needed to be distinguished apart. They overcome this challenge by using a semiconductor device which could only pick up signals of required frequency coming from the marker.
Proton Therapy for Certain Cancers a Potential Application, Technology Still Naïve
One of the most exciting applications, researchers say, can be in proton beam therapy wherein the exact location of tumors is crucial for the success of the therapy. The therapy allows doctors to use higher doses of radiation to irradiate tumors, but is now useful in selected types of cancers.
The researchers opine that for the device to be used in clinical setting, the accuracy should be higher than few millimeters. The scientists are looking for a model that can closely mimic human body in complexity in a bid to test the feasibility of the technology in treating cancer.