Michigan’s Henry Ford Health has partnered with Ephemeral Tattoo, a maker of non-permanent ink, to test tattoos that are designed to disappear. The trial aims to assess the safety and effectiveness of these tattoos for cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.

Tattoos are used to guide radiation treatment in cancer patients. Small dots are tattooed on the patient’s skin as setup points for precise therapy. Traditional tattoos can be permanent and may pose challenges for patients due to cultural, religious, or personal reasons. Non-permanent options like henna fade too quickly.

The researchers believe that semi-permanent tattoos could provide an alternative for patients, as they would fade away after the therapy is completed. The study involved 15 radiation therapy patients receiving tattoos with Ephemeral’s made-to-fade ink, which lasted throughout the treatment. The ink is made from biodegradable materials and color additives, and it gradually breaks down in the body. The trial is ongoing, and the researchers will continue to follow the patients to assess the fading of the tattoos. The long-term goal is to determine if temporary tattoos could become a new standard of care in radiation therapy alignment.

Article written by B. David Zarley