‘Lab-in-a-patient’ Microdevices

A device smaller than a grain of rice delivers precise anti-cancer therapy.

Last year at the hospital’s annual Discover Brigham event, Oliver Jonas, PhD, MA, won the $500,000 BRI Director’s Transformative Award to advance his microdevice project.
(Photo by Lightchaser Photography)

Oliver Jonas, PhD, MA, a laboratory director in the Department of Radiology, is taking precision medicine to new levels to fight cancer.

Jonas has developed a tiny device, smaller than a grain of rice, that can be implanted into part of a tumor, where it releases small doses of anti-cancer therapies directly into the tumor. The device remains implanted for 24 hours and is then retrieved with the surrounding tissue, which is analyzed to measure the effect of each therapy on the tumor.

“We hope this can help us identify the optimal therapy for patients on a personalized basis,” says Jonas, who first developed the technology as a postdoc at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.