A chip placed under the skin for more precise medicine

Several EPFL laboratories are working on devices allowing constant analysis over as long a period as possible. The latest development is the biosensor chip, created by researchers in the Integrated Systems Laboratory working together with the Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit Group. Sandro Carrara is unveiling it today at the International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS) in Lisbon.

This biosensing chip has been created by researchers in EPFLs Integrated...
This biosensing chip has been created by researchers in EPFL's Integrated Systems Laboratory.
Source: Alain Herzog / EPFL

The future of medicine lies in ever greater precision, not only when it comes to diagnosis but also drug dosage. The blood work that medical staff rely on is generally a snapshot indicative of the moment the blood is drawn before it undergoes hours - or even days - of analysis.

Autonomous operation

"This is the world's first chip capable of measuring not just pH and temperature, but also metabolism-related molecules like glucose, lactate and cholesterol, as well as drugs," said Dr. Carrara. A group of electrochemical sensors works with or without enzymes, which means the device can react to a wide range of compounds, and it can do so for several days or even weeks.

This one-centimetre square device contains three main components: a circuit with six sensors, a control unit that analyses incoming signals, and a radio transmission module. It also has an induction coil that draws power from an external battery attached to the skin by a patch. "A simple plaster holds together the battery, the coil and a Bluetooth module used to send the results immediately to a mobile phone," said Carrara.

Contactless, in vivo monitoring

The chip was successfully tested in vivo on mice at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Bellinzona, where researchers were able to constantly monitor glucose and paracetamol levels without a wire tracker getting in the way of the animals' daily activities. The results were extremely promising, which means that clinical tests on humans could take place in three to five years - especially since the procedure is only minimally invasive, with the chip being implanted just under the epidermis.

"Knowing the precise and real-time effect of drugs on the metabolism is one of the keys to the type of personalised, precision medicine that we are striving for," said Carrara.

Source: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

28.05.2015

Read all latest stories

Related articles

Photo

Strategic cooperation

SpeeDx and Cepheid announce partnership on European distribution

SpeeDx Pty, Ltd. announced an agreement with Cepheid for distribution of its PlexPCRTM and ResistancePlusTM molecular diagnostic products in key markets throughout Europe. The agreement, covering…

Photo

New chip makes testing for antibiotic-resistant bacteria faster

Researchers at the University of Toronto design diagnostic chip to reduce testing time from days to one hour, allowing doctors to pick the right antibiotic the first time.

Photo

Connected Care

Improving medication adherence via a patient-centric platform

Dr Stefan Becker, a trained medical doctor with an M.B.A. degree, works as a senior nephrologist and transplant officer at Essen University Hospital and manages its Institute for Drug Safety. In an…

Related products

Beckman Coulter – Remisol Advance

LIS, Middleware, POCT

Beckman Coulter – Remisol Advance

Beckman Coulter, Inc.
Image Information Systems – iQ-4VIEW

Mobile RIS/PACS Viewer

Image Information Systems – iQ-4VIEW

IMAGE Information Systems Europe GmbH
i-Solutions Health – LabCentre

LIS, Middleware, POCT

i-Solutions Health – LabCentre

i-SOLUTIONS Health GmbH
Medat – Laboratory Information System

LIS, Middleware, POCT

Medat – Laboratory Information System

Medat Computer-Systeme GmbH
Siemens Healthineers - syngo Lab Inventory Manager (sLIM)

LIS, Middleware, POCT

Siemens Healthineers - syngo Lab Inventory Manager (sLIM)

Siemens Healthineers
Agfa HealthCare – Dose

Dose Management Systems

Agfa HealthCare – Dose

Agfa HealthCare