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Skin Patch Monitors Tumor Size and Sends Data to Smartphone

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 26 Jan 2024
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Image: Preparation and working mechanism of the DE stain sensor (Photo courtesy of ACS Nano, 2024. DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.3c11346)
Image: Preparation and working mechanism of the DE stain sensor (Photo courtesy of ACS Nano, 2024. DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.3c11346)

Certain tumors form just beneath the skin's surface, and doctors often opt not to remove them immediately for various medical reasons. These tumors are generally managed with medications and radiation therapy. In these situations, it's crucial for healthcare professionals to regularly assess the tumor's size to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments. This typically requires patients to visit a medical facility for tests like MRIs to measure the tumor. Now, researchers have created a skin patch capable of monitoring the size of tumors lying just under the skin, a development that has been successfully tested on mice.

Researchers from National Tsing Hua University (Hsinchu, Taiwan) and Taipei Medical University (Taipei, Taiwan) discovered a simpler method for measuring tumors just under the skin. They developed a skin patch that continuously monitors tumor size through a smartphone application. The patch, resembling a flexible sticker, is made from soft, elastic plastic with an adhesive on one side. To transform this into a monitoring device, the team incorporated hafnium, a metal formed by combining silver and oxygen, into the plastic. This metal was processed into nanoparticles of 100 nm in size and then mixed with the plastic.

Once the patch is applied over a tumor, the patch properties are altered by changes in the alignment of the nanoparticles and their electrical properties to reveal the size of the tumor. The researchers validated this technology on mice with tumors approximately the size of a grain of rice and found it could accurately monitor the tumor size for up to a week. The research team envisages that, upon further validation and clinical use, this patch would allow patients to personally monitor their treatment progress. Additionally, the data collected by the smartphone app could be sent daily to their healthcare provider, potentially enhancing patient care and treatment monitoring.

Related Links:
National Tsing Hua University
Taipei Medical University

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