Small Sensor Checks Effectiveness of Cancer Treatment

September 29, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. critical /ˈkrɪt ɪ kəl/ (adj.) – in a crucial or serious state
Example: He was in critical condition after the accident.

2. shrink /ʃrɪŋk/ (v.) – to decrease in size
Example: The medicine made the tumor shrink.  

3. real-time /ˈri əl taɪm/ (adj.) – happening at the same time as something
Example: Through real-time video chat, I was able to talk to my friend in the United Kingdom.

4. precise /prɪˈsaɪs/ (adj.) – exact
Example: Calculators are more precise than humans in computing.

5. locate /loʊˈkeɪt/ (v.) – to identify the place of something
Example: It took some time to locate her missing cellphone.


Read the text below.
Researchers have developed a small sensor that can monitor the effectiveness of cancer treatment.

A team of researchers from the Koch [koch] Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at Massachusetts [mas-uh-CHOO-sits] Institute of Technology has developed a sensor that allows doctors to identify critical changes in a tumor during treatment. The sensor, which is about the same size as a piece of Tic Tac candy, can be implanted in the patient’s cancerous tissue during initial examination.

The journal Lab on a Chip reported that the sensor can do an earlier reading compared to other devices that are currently being used. Michael Cima [SEE-muh], the team’s head, said that other devices can take months to determine if a tumor is shrinking. In contrast, the sensor can give real-time reading to determine the condition of a tumor.

The sensor works by wirelessly sending data to an external device for reading and analysis. Based on the readings, doctors can determine if there is a need to adjust the medicine’s dosage or to change the treatment. With this, the treatment can be more precise and focused, thus reducing the patient’s risk of suffering from severe side effects.

So far, the sensor has only been tested on rodents. Additional research is needed to ensure that it is safe for human testing. 

Aside from the sensor, another innovation in cancer treatment is a robot called Da Vinci [duh VIN-chee], which is used by some doctors in England to treat lung cancer. The robot can locate and remove tumors without having to press on the patient’s ribs, which causes pain. With this device, a patient can experience faster recovery and less post-surgery pain.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What are your thoughts about the sensor? Discuss your answer.
·         Do you think cancer treatments in your country are good? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         How do you think the government can improve healthcare in your country?
·         In what other ways can robots be positively used in medicine? Enumerate as many ways as you can.

September 29, 2015