Back in 2014, the researchers successfully managed to get their device to work in rats. The rats’ brain tumors shrank by more than 90 percent and spread more slowly. Since then, the researchers have tweaked the device, and repeatedly shown its effectiveness in rats.
“This was the first demonstration that you can engineer migration inside the body and move a tumor from point A to point B by design,” explained Ravi Bellamkonda, the Vinik Dean of the of Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, who began the research while at Georgia Tech. “It was also the first demonstration of bringing the tumor to your drug rather than your drug going into the brain and killing valuable cells.”
Five years on and the device has breakthrough status. “The most exciting part about this designation is that it gives us the opportunity to look at the FDA as a partner rather than a reviewer,” said project leader Nassir Mokarram. “With direct access to the FDA reviewers, we can get more efficient, faster feedback on our experimental ideas to make sure we’re addressing all of their concerns from the very start.”