The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MITThe David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Cancer Institute Cancer Center

Science + Engineering... Conquering Cancer Together

The inside story: Implantable technology improves treatment

Working on implantable devices for drug delivery, KI member Michael Cima, David H. Koch Professor of Engineering, hopes to make cancer treatments safer, more effective, and more convenient. As these implantable devices advance toward the clinic, so does the promise for improving patient outcomes and experiences.

Cima and now-alumnus Heejin Lee developed a pretzel-shaped silicone tube device that can be inserted into the bladder to then slowly release drugs over two weeks to treat interstitial cystitis, or bladder pain syndrome. Cima co-founded TARIS Biomedical in 2008 to commercialize this technology and begin clinical trials with the device. Now, TARIS is exploring how to leverage the modular drug-delivery device for other bladder diseases, including bladder cancer. read more

Also, in Bridge Project-funded research, Cima is collaborating with MGH researchers to develop an implantable drug-delivery device for ovarian cancer that can be implanted in the peritoneal cavity to slowly release chemotherapy drugs over a long period of time. This method would greatly improve existing intraperitoneal drug administration. watch video

Finally, Cima and David H. Koch Institute Professor Robert Langer have developed a new approach for treating metastatic brain tumors. They found that delivering chemotherapy directly into the brain cavity via implantable microcapsules could be more effective in killing tumors cells while avoiding side effects. When testing the microcapsules in mouse models, tumor-cell death increased, resulting in significantly improved survival time. Because so many cancers, especially those of the breast and lung, metastasize to the brain, this research offers promise for targeted drug delivery. read more