UPDATE : Monday, July 6, 2020
2 state institutes to develop wearable cancer treatment device
  • By Shim Hyun-tai
  • Published 2020.02.19 14:37
  • Updated 2020.02.19 14:37
  • comments 0

A joint team of researchers from the two state-funded institutions plans to develop a wearable electric field device to treat cancer. Dr. Kim Jae-sung of the Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Science (KIRAMS) and Dr. Park Hyung-ju of Electronics and the Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) are leading the joint research team.

The treatment of cancer using electric fields is a new method that selectively generates an electric field around cancer cells to suppress its division and induce necrosis without damaging normal cells.

Drs. Park Hyung-ju (left) and Kim Jae-sung

Unlike the existing anticancer treatments, patients can wear the device like clothes in daily lives, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved to use the device for treating cancers, such as malignant brain tumors and mesothelioma, and clinical trials of its use in various cancers are in progress. However, the research to commercialize the device is still inadequate in Korea.

The research team has secured the core technologies of electric field therapy device and developed a nanomaterial-based targeted therapy that maximizes the ability to kill cancer in a short time. The core technologies involve a patch technology that contacts and delivers electric fields to the skin and software technology that controls treatment efficiency.

The research team discovered that applying an electric field with the injection of barium titanate nanoparticle caused the cancer cells to absorb the particle and increased cancer proliferation and tumor suppression effects up to 1.8 times higher than only applying the electric field. Barium titanate nanoparticle can increase the efficiency of the electric field with its high dielectric constant and can be used to the body.

"We are looking forward to developing new Korean medical devices that will lead to commercialization through clinical trials, and follow-up researches through the joint efforts of the two institutions and enhancing the quality of patients' lives," the research team said in a press release.

The team applied for the international patent of the device-related base technology and targeted technology in 2019.

The research results were published online in the journal Scientific Reports last Thursday, under the title of "Barium Titanate Nanoparticles Sensitise Treatment-Resistant Breast Cancer Cells to the Antitumor Action of Tumour-Treating Fields."


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