Researchers from Purdue University and the Indiana University School of Medicine have developed and tested a miniature device that can be implanted in tumours to generate oxygen and enhance the power of radiation and chemotherapy to remove tumours.

The implantable micro oxygen generator is an electronic device that receives ultrasound signals and uses energy to generate a small voltage to separate oxygen and hydrogen from water to treat hypoxic solid tumours with low oxygen levels at their cores.

The device is slightly less than one centimetre long and can be inserted into a tumour with a hypodermic biopsy needle, according to HealthCanal.com.

Researchers have tested the device in pancreatic tumours implanted in mice, showing it had generated oxygen and shrunk tumours faster than tumours without the device.

A patent application has been filed for the design, the source added.

The oxygen generator project is one of 11 projects the Alfred Mann Institute for Biomedical Development at Purdue University has sponsored.