Wearable Device for Tumor

FAST: New wearable device to check tumor size on your phone

A small and non-invasive device has been developed by engineers that can be attached to the skin surface containing a tumor to detect its different sizes. The device named “FAST” (Flexible Autonomous Sensor measuring Tumors) is an accurate way to test the effectiveness of cancer drugs. The battery-powered device connects to your smartphone wirelessly and provides results instantaneously. Read more to understand the tumor and the reasons for its cause and how this device works.


Understanding Tumor

What is the tumor?

A group of abnormal cells or a mass that forms in a body is called a tumor. Another word for the tumor is Neoplasm. Tumors are of different types, some of them are cancerous while some are benign (not cancerous).

Tumors can affect tissues, glands, bones, skin, and even organs. It can form throughout the body.

Types of tumor:

  • Precancerous Tumor

These are the noncancerous tumors that can become cancerous if not treated. It includes Cervical dysplasia, Actinic keratosis, etc.

  • Cancerous Tumor

Also called Malignant tumors can spread to nearby glands and organs. These are life-threatening and can come back after treatment. It includes Brain tumors, Bone tumors, sarcomas, Organ tumors, Skin tumors, etc.

  • Noncancerous Tumors

They are Benign tumors (noncancerous) and are rarely life-threatening. Some don’t affect nearby tissues and hence don’t even need treatment while others pass on other body parts and need treatment. It includes Brain tumors, Benign bone tumors, etc.

Types of tumor

What are the developing factors of Tumor?

The factors that are majorly responsible for tumor to develop are:

  • Smoking
  • Toxin Exposure like benzene
  • Family History
  • Obesity
  • Radiation Exposure
  • Gene mutations
  • Alcohol
  • Environmental toxins like poisonous mushrooms
  • Viruses
  • Excessive Sunlight Exposure

FAST: Flexible Autonomous Sensor measuring Tumour

US engineers team have developed a non-invasive and small device that can attach to the skin and measure the size of the tumor in the skin with its flexible sensors. This battery-operated device provides results instantaneously to the phone wirelessly in real time.

The device is named by the researchers of Georgia Institute of Technology and Stanford University. This device is an economical and accurate way to test the cancer drug’s efficacy and can lead to new directions in oncology.

Why do we need this technology?

The small samples, limited measuring approaches, and different variations of the tumor makes its screening very difficult and increase labor difficulties. In some cases, calipers are used to measure tumors by hand which is not ideal said, Alex Abramson. Also, the radiology process is very time-consuming. Finding new methods for cancer therapy is slow because the technology for measuring tumors from drug treatment takes weeks to respond.

Where the caliper method takes weeks, FAST can detect tumor change on a minute timescale. The method is flexible, precise, and cost-effective.

How does this device work?

The device has a stretchable and flexible polymer that is connected to the electronic case. According to researchers, the breakthrough is this flexible electronic material. On the top, the polymer is gold-coated which when stretched develops cracks resulting in changed electrical conductivity. This changing conductivity is associated with changing dimensions and size of the tumor mathematically. Then this data is sent to the linked smartphone wirelessly.

The polymer is made flexible like skin because it can squeeze the tumor and alter the measurements if the polymer material is not flexible.

What are the benefits of this device?

  • The device offers continuous monitoring because the device remains in its place for the entire experiment time.
  • Accurate measurement is possible that is very difficult by other methods because the flexible material of the device can envelop the whole tumor in it.
  • The device is non-invasive and autonomous

Read the full abstract: A flexible electronic strain sensor for the real-time monitoring of tumor regression

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  1. Wish there was in depth information about how it works. Hope it just doesn’t get lost into the trials only. Great article.