Researchers at Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University have developed an innovative wearable patch capable of continuous monitoring of tumors beneath the skin. The patch, constructed from a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) film embedded with hafnium oxide (HfO2) nanoparticles, offers real-time data transmission to a smartphone, enhancing tumor tracking capabilities.

Published in ACS Nano, the study highlights the limitations of current tumor measurement methods, such as computed tomography (CT) scans and caliper measurements, due to their costliness and potential inaccuracies. To address these challenges, the team devised a skin patch functioning as a dielectric strain sensor, measuring deformation or pressure changes on the material.

By applying the patch directly over the tumor site, variations in tumor size cause strain on the patch, altering its electrical impedance. This mechanism enables precise monitoring of tumor size changes, critical for treatment decisions and efficacy assessment. Additionally, the patch wirelessly transmits impedance data to a smartphone app, providing real-time alerts for significant tumor volume changes.

In experiments on mouse models, the patch effectively tracked subcutaneous tumor growth, accurately signaling the need for treatment initiation and detecting treatment-induced impediment in tumor progression. Importantly, the patch demonstrated superior precision compared to traditional caliper measurements, making it a promising tool for personalized medicine and telehealth applications.

The development of this wearable patch marks a significant advancement in tumor monitoring technology, offering continuous, non-invasive tracking crucial for improving patient care and treatment outcomes.

Article written by Alexander Beadle



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