New Biosensor Chip Can Detect Metabolism-Related Molecules And Drugs

Researchers from EPFL's (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne) Integrated Systems Laboratory have joined forces with the organization’s Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit group in order to design a novel biosensor chip. This one-centimeter long chip is implanted under the skin for monitoring not only pH and temperature but also metabolism-related molecules such as glucose, lactate and cholesterol. In addition to that, it can even accurately detect the concentration levels of certain drugs. Moreover, the chip can send the results immediately to your mobile phone via Bluetooth.

The compact and small device is composed of three main units- a circuit with six sensors, a control unit for analyzing incoming signals, and a radio transmission module. It also packs an induction coil for drawing power from an external battery. The battery is attached to the surface of the skin by using a patch. A simple plaster is used for packing battery, coil and Bluetooth module. Owing to the properties of the batch of electrochemical sensors that performs with or without enzymes, the device can react to a various kinds of compounds. Moreover, the sensors can work for several days or even weeks.

The researchers successfully tested and found exceedingly promising results in vivo on mice. At the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Bellinzona, they were able to observe and keep record of glucose and paracetamol levels continuously over a long period of time. While monitoring and analyzing, the wire tracker did not affect the vivo’s daily activities. However, the procedure is minimally invasive as the chip is inserted just under the epidermis of a human being. According to the researchers, the clinical tests on humans could be possible in about three to five years.

The chip was demonstrated at the International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS) in Lisbon.

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