Tiny Implant Sends Blood Test Results Directly to Mobile Phones
March 20, 2013 1:08 PM
This could be beneficial for patients using chemotherapy, and others with chronic illnesses
Patients could soon send and receive blood test results wirelessly through a tiny implant just
beneath the skin
Researchers from École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), led by Giovanni de Micheli and Sandro Carrara, have created an implant that will deliver blood test results directly from the patient's body to the doctor's computer -- which could help those with chronic diseases manage their health more easily.
The implant is just a few cubic millimeters in volume, but is a complete medical device with many functions. It has five sensors, a radio transmitter and a power system. The device is placed just under the skin, and is able to transmit radio waves. A battery patch, which offers one-tenth watt of power, collects this data and sends it to a mobile phone via Bluetooth. From there, the data is sent to a doctor over a cellular network.
The five sensors are coated with different enzymes for detecting up to five proteins and organic acids simultaneously. Currently, the enzymes last for a month and a half, which is long enough for normal testing periods.
Once the enzymes expire, the implant is easily removed and replaced if needed.
A minimally invasive device like this could be handy for doctors looking to keep an eye on chemotherapy dosage tolerance in patients, and thus adjust accordingly. It could also help doctors keep an eye on glucose levels in diabetics.
For patients, this could help eliminate some of the time-consuming and costly doctor's appointments and lab work fees for blood tests. It will also help them adjust their medication (if they can) and receive better overall treatment.
This device is expected to be commercially available in about four years.
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