PITA Fiscal Year 2009 Projects - Biomedical and Health Engineering

A Step Toward Personalized Medicine: A Device For The Continuous Monitoring Of Chemotherapy Drug Levels At The Bedside

Principal Investigators: Alan J. Rosenbloom, Stefan Zappe

In the recent era of sequencing of the human genome, individual differences between people have been highlighted and the logic of individualizing drug therapies, so-called Personalized Medicine, has been born.

Cancer chemotherapy has the highest stakes of all drug therapy. Under-dosing risks poor outcome with diminished tumor shrink, tumor drug resistance, and disease relapse. Over-dosing risks side effects which range from unpleasant to fatal. These include long-lasting or permanent collateral damage to peripheral nerves, hair follicles, liver, kidney, heart the immune system and bone marrow. Current chemo dosing is usually done by estimates of patient size (body surface area), renal function, and liver function. Recently, blood levels of chemo drugs are being measured directly to more precisely adjust dosing. In some cases the Food & Drug Administration (F.D.A.) has recommended testing to identify genetic under-metabolizers of some drugs.

The present work focuses on the development of a device that will measure chemotherapy levels in the blood continuously at the bedside. This will allow much more precise drug administration than currently available. The ultimate goal is to adjust therapy to the optimal level for each person. This same technology can also be applied to other drug therapies as well as chemotherapy.