In this MEDICA-tradefair.com interview, Dr. Sebastian Kibler explains how a micropump and an implantable system help deliver drugs with precision.
Dr. Kibler, we are talking about the implantable TUDOS micropump developed by Fraunhofer EMFT. What kind of system is this?
Dr. Sebastian Kibler: It is a silicon micromembrane pump powered by piezoelectricity. We developed the pump to combat liver cancers about ten years ago as part of the TUDOS project. The overall project aimed at developing a system that facilitates the control and dosage monitoring of the miniaturized pump.
We focused on the features this micropump would need to be applicable in implantable drug delivery systems that can stay permanently in the body and must be refilled at regular intervals.
How can a micropump help effectively treat cancer?
Kibler: Cytotoxic drugs or cytostatics are the classic cancer treatment. Unfortunately, many patients suffer from the side effects of these powerful drugs since they not only attack cancer cells but affect the whole body. Another approach is to deliver high doses of cytostatics directly to the tumor which targets the treatment at the affected site and reduces the side effects.
What does the overall system look like?
Kibler: Our TUDOS project system featured an integrated matchbox-sized device. At the time, we designed it for animal testing.
We are now incorporating this prior experience in the "μP Brain Test" project, in which a client wants to implement the system to treat brain tumors. Aside from our pump, this will also include electronic components, sensor technology that controls the drug dosing, and an integrated drug reservoir for refill via a port.
This type of system could then be implanted under the skin in the upper chest or lower abdominal area. From there, a catheter can be placed to the delivery site, usually into the tumor tissue or the distributing blood vessels.