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AMRDEC Inventors Develop a More Efficient Tool for the Treatment of Damaged/Malignant Cells

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The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) recently received U.S. Patent No. 7,837,654 for a Precision Sensing and Treatment Delivery Device for Promoting Healing in Living Tissue. Invented by Daniel L. Shumate, Dr. Paul B. Ruffin and John Curtis Fulda, the technology is an intelligent needle that is insertable in targeted tissue.

The inventors developed this novel medical device to treat damaged or malignant cells in a noninvasive application. Their goal was to create a minimally invasive way to control the tissue cells’ environment to promote self-healing. The technology accomplishes this goal by administering therapeutic fluids directly to tissue cells while simultaneously measuring and monitoring their effects. The device has the potential to improve the way the medical community treats damaged cells and to promote quicker healing in patients.

The needle is a microneedle that can be precisely inserted in or near the target cell mass without significantly disrupting overlying tissue layers. The microneedle has one or a plurality of microtubes, which are used to quickly evaluate cell parameters. The microtubes include both sensing fibers and fluid delivery tubes, and may be bundled. Sensing fibers can include an optic fiber, optical detector and transmission fiber, pH sensing fiber, thermal fiber, oxygen fiber, temperature fiber, and vibration fiber. The delivery tubes allow for repetitive delivery of primary and secondary treatment fluid or removal of cell fluids, and are coupled with the means for fluid flow sources, such as a microfluidic pump capable of fluid delivery rates of about five microliters per minute.

The insertion end is positioned within or adjacent to the target cell tissue, thereby positioning the plurality of microtubes’ distal ends and associated sensing fibers and fluid flow microtubes within the target cell tissue or adjacent to the target tissue mass. The sensing fibers evaluate the cell tissue internal conditions, while the fluid flow microtubes provide flow paths for delivery of one or more treatment fluids to the target cell tissue, thereby adjusting the cell tissue internal conditions to the preferred levels of pH, oxygen content, temperature, and osmotic balance to facilitate the healing of diseased and/or damaged cell tissue. Upon the advice of medical personnel after monitoring the cell tissue internal conditions with the microneedle, an exact dose of therapeutic medicine, oxygen, vibration, and/or thermal transfer is dispensed through the microneedle, with the resulting promotion of cellular healing or the poisoning of malignant cells. The microneedle is readily removed and discarded, or reused after sterilization.

The patent also includes a method of precisely positioning this needle.

AMRDEC is always looking for ways to improve the performance of everyday technology applications not only for the warfighter, but also for citizens. The AMRDEC technology portfolio includes issued and pending patents. This technology is part of AMRDEC’s technology commercialization program, which seeks to stimulate commercial use of AMRDEC-developed technologies. AMRDEC invites companies to consider using this technology through exclusive, nonexclusive, or exclusive field-of-use licensing. Many of our technologies can be found at DoD TechMatch. For licensing information, contact the Office of Research and Technology Applications, Advanced Science and Technology Directorate, AMRDEC, at (256) 313-0895 or via email at orta@amrdec.army.mil.

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