Almost 1 in 4 people who die of cancer has a hollow organ tumor, e.g. in the bile duct or in the esophagus. Such a tumor cannot usually be removed surgically. It is only possible to open the hollow organ for a short time using a stent, i.e. a tube-shaped prosthesis. However, the tumor grows back and penetrates the hollow organ through the stent.
Every year, RWTH Aachen University honors particularly innovative university projects with the Innovation Award. Ioana Slabu from the Institute of Applied Medical Technology (AME) and Benedict Bauer from the Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University (ITA), Aachen/Germany, have now developed a novel technology for the therapy of hollow organ tumors, which was awarded 2nd
place in the RWTH Innovation Award.
This involves a polymer stent that contains magnetic nanoparticles. When electro-magnetic fields are applied, these nanoparticles lead to a controlled heating of the stent material and thus of the tumor. Because the tumor reacts much more sensitively to heat than healthy tissue, it is destroyed, and the hollow organ remains open. Thus, the stent develops a self-cleaning effect.
Not only can the cost of treatment be drastically reduced, but above all relief can be provided for millions of patients worldwide.
A manufacturing process and proof of concept for magnetic hyperthermia are already in place. This novel technology has a very high development potential because it can also be used for tumors in other parts of the body such as the prostate, stomach, intestine, or urinary bladder, or for cardiovascular diseases.
The AiF/IGF project started under the project title "ProNano" funded by BMWK. Now the approval for the follow-up project "ProNano2" has also been received. The approved project is called: "Validation of the innovation potential of heatable stents for heat-induced treatment of cavity tumors" and is funded by BMBF in course of the VIP+ program. With the Clinic for General, Visceral and Transplantation Surgery of the University Hospital Aachen and the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management at RWTH Aachen University, the consortium is enriched by clinical and economic expertise.