Free Press Journal

Chip under skin for precise drug screening


London: Scientists have developed a biosensor chip that can be placed under the skin for a better monitoring of drug dosage. “This is 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 Sandro Carrara from the Integrated Systems Laboratory at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). 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 tiny 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 which draws power from an external battery attached to the skin by a patch. “A simple plaster holds the battery, the coil and a Bluetooth module are used to send the results immediately to a mobile phone.” The chip was successfully tested on mice at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Bellinzona, Switzerland.

The researchers were able to constantly monitor glucose and paracetamol levels without a wire tracker getting in the way of the animals’ daily activities. “Knowing the precise and real-time effect of drugs on the metabolism is one of the keys to precision medicine that we are striving for,” Carrara said. The device was unveiled at the International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS) in Lisbon.