Tiny sensors which would monitor tumours in unprecedented levels of detail are being developed in a five-year project at Edinburgh University.
The devices, about the size of an eyelash, would be implanted into patients’ tumours, where they could “spy” on a cancerous growth’s activity.
Experts believe the development would allow doctors to administer radiotherapy and, in time, chemotherapy where and when it is most needed, ultimately improving recovery rates.
The £5.2 million project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Professor Alan Murray, of the university’s School of Engineering, said: “Experts including scientists, engineers, clinicians and social scientists will be working to target cancer in an entirely new way.
“Our aim is, in the long term, to help to alleviate suffering and to improve the outlook for very many cancer patients.”