ENGINEERING NEW IDEAS TO TREAT CANCER
HOW DOES BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING RELATE TO CANCER RESEARCH?
Biomedical engineering is a broad field that is based around the application of engineering principles and design to improve healthcare in medicine. Applications include, but are not limited to, designing, creating, and fabricating biological and medical systems such as prosthetics, artificial organs, and medical instruments. Prosthetics can be used by cancer patients who require an amputation as part of their treatment, such as women with breast cancer who require complete breast removal (mastectomy). Medical instruments created by biomedical engineers include imaging modalities for surgery and other diagnostic tools that can be used to detect cancer, which aid the healthcare team in determining the patient’s treatment plan. These medical instruments can also be used to directly treat cancer, such as medical linear accelerator (LINAC) machines, which are used for radiation treatment (radiotherapy) of cancer.
WHAT JOBS IN BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING CAN YOU PURSUE IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN CANCER RESEARCH?
There are several jobs in the field of biomedical engineering that relate to cancer research. Check out some highlights in our blog posts about:
There are a number of careers in the field of biochemistry that relate to cancer research. Take a look at our blog posts about:
WHERE IS THE FIELD OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING HEADING?
There are multiple areas in which biomedical engineering can be applied for the treatment of cancer, such as biomaterials, medical imaging, and robotics. The field of biomaterials investigates the engineering of biological or artificial materials to repair tissue. In medical imaging, biomedical engineers try to create new ways to identify structures in the body. Medical robotics is about using innovative and new technologies to break down surgical procedures into simple commands that can be communicated to and performed by a robot. The combination of these subfields contributes to improving patient care. In joint replacement surgery, for example, biomaterials must be carefully selected and fabricated to fit the patient’s needs. Medical imaging is then used to examine the patient’s anatomy and plan the treatment, including surgery or radiotherapy. During surgery, robotic instruments can help surgeons perform the surgery with greater accuracy and precision. In the future, it is expected that there will be greater collaboration between subfields of biomedical engineering that will lead to exciting and meaningful advancements in healthcare.
Meet our LET’S tALK biochemistry editors
Claire Park is a PhD Candidate in Medical Biophysics at Robarts Research Institute and Western University Ontario. Her research focuses on developing mechatronics-assisted systems combined with medical imaging (positron emission mammography and ultrasound) to improve detection and diagnosis of breast cancer in high-risk women.
Kevin J. Chung is a second-year PhD Candidate in Medical Biophysics at the Robarts Research Institute, University of Western Ontario. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Calgary in 2019. His research is about making computed tomography (CT) scanning easier to improve treatment planning for stroke patients at hospitals in rural communities.