Saturday, 19 Jan 2019

This biomedical tattoo could help detect some earlier cancers

Image from the study published on Transnational Science Medicine.

Difficult to detect complications when there are no symptoms yet. This is a problem that many patients encounter, especially those with hypercalcemia of malignancy, note Science and Future. This complication related to the activity of cancerous tumors causes excess calcium in the body. Unfortunately, it is often detected late when the first symptoms appear (nausea, vomiting, fatigue, etc.).

The tattoo darkens thanks to melanin

To speed up the diagnosis, Swiss researchers had the idea to create a biomedical tattoo. This implant consists of living cells that produce melanin when they detect too much calcium, explains Science and Future. Result: the tattoo darkens. The advantage is that it can detect the hypercalcemia of the 5.6 mg / dL of calcium in the blood (when the first symptoms, they generally occur only from 10 mg / dL).

“Early detection greatly increases the chances of survival” Martin Fussenegger, a professor in the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering at ETH Zurich in Basel, said in a statement.

An implant with a limited lifespan

Note that the life of the implant is limited. According to Pr Fussenegger, the cells of the “tattoo” become inoperative after about a year. If the modified cells of the implant come from the wearer himself, then they will have to be inactivated and replaced. If they come from someone other than the one wearing the implant, they should even be removed to avoid the phenomena of rejection.

It should also be noted that this biomedical tattoo is still in the prototype stage. It has been successfully tested on mice and pork skin. But it will certainly wait another ten years before hoping to see it arrive on the market.

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