Your browser is out of date
With an updated browser, you will have a better Medtronic website experience. Update my browser now.
A Microscale mesh that wraps around brain tumours
"At the beginning, I was working on finding a solution to improve the therapy for cancer,” says Daniele Di Mascolo1, a researcher at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa. “I was working on glioblastoma [GBM], but it's a very aggressive type of cancer with no practical solution for patients.” This form of brain cancer has a very poor prognosis: the survival rate for people with GBM is 18% after two years, and just 5% after five years2.
Daniele Di Mascolo
Di Mascolo started as a biologist working on human genetics, with a focus on degenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. “But I realised that maybe we need something more to try to help people, and I understood that maybe biology alone was not sufficient,” he says, “so I started a PhD in biomedical engineering.” He began working on drug delivery systems, but then moved away from neurodegenerative disease to focus on cancer. He credits his varied scientific background with providing a strong basis for devising new medical applications. “I strongly believe that we need more of that, more combinations of different disciplines,” he says. “You lose a little bit of deep understanding – you cannot be an expert in cell biology, molecular biology, nanofabrication, pharmacology – but it can help you in collecting ideas and proposing new solutions.”
He thinks that having a broader picture of any field is useful when trying to solve a problem, since sometimes a step-by-step approach is not enough. And he reckons the first move for any would-be inventor should be talking with the people who are grappling with the problem on the ground. “Talking with a clinician, for instance, in the biomedical research field should be the first thing [you do] to understand the problems with current treatments,” he says. “And then maybe you can think of something that can be helpful with the things that you know how to do.”
Register to receive our monthly newsletter, containing new articles, via email