Our project focused on developing an implantable device for the recurrent and minimally invasive re-administration of cell therapies to the brain to treat gliomas. Gliomas are brain tumors that come in multiple forms ranging from low-grade, benign tumors to high-grade, malignant tumors including glioblastomas. Glioblastoma treatment involves surgical resection, chemotherapy, and radiation. However, these tumors are typically incompletely resected, so there is a 90% recurrence rate. While implantable devices currently exist for the delivery of drug-based therapies, there is no device designed for the delivery of cell therapy to the brain to treat gliomas. This presents a challenge as the initial administration of cell therapies is done in the operating room upon surgical resection, and another invasive surgery is required if another round of cell therapy treatment is to be administered.

To address these challenges, we created LifeSTEM – a revolutionary, neurological, implantable device designed for the local delivery of stem cells to treat patients with brain tumors. LifeSTEM utilizes a multi-chamber reservoir for targeted, local delivery of the therapy, a guiding sleeve and catheters that are customizable in length to account of variability in patient anatomy and tumor location, as well as perforated catheter tips to allow for radial diffusion of the therapy and minimize potential reflux. This device has the potential to reduce the risk of additional surgical procedures and extend patient lifespan. Our current focus on the delivery of mesenchymal stem cells has revealed just the tip of the iceberg of potential in the space, as expansion could include delivery of CAR T-cells, extracellular vesicles, nanoparticles, microRNA, drug therapies, as well as other neurological and non-neurological diseases.
Department Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor Mayo Clinic
Advisor Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa
Primary Email Contact
Table # G8


Name Major Hometown
Isabella Varea BME Bethesda, MD
Juan Martinez BME Dunwoody, GA
Mateo Golloshi BME Dahlonega, GA
Victoria Kabat BME Lawrenceville, GA