WASHINGTON—Following years of research and testing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration officially approved a groundbreaking artificial tumor Tuesday, marking the first time a synthetic malignant growth has been cleared for use in patients across the country. “There were obviously significant complications in devising a tumor substitute the human body would accept, but we now have an artificial neoplasm that serves the same physiological functions as an organic abnormal growth of tissue,” said Jeffrey Shuren of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, adding that the polymer-based lump can be safely implanted in patients regardless of age, health, or medical history during a minimally invasive and relatively quick two-hour surgical procedure. “This synthetic tumor is remarkably lightweight, malignant, and capable of naturally metastasizing throughout the body. It also has the benefit of being incredibly small—roughly the size of a dime—but once in the body, it will grow two to three times in size and will get to work immediately replicating itself.” Shuren added that while initial prototypes of the device had only enough battery power to last a few days, the approved version is capable of going for several years or more, or until its objective has been completed.
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