Ultra-Thin Sensors for Quicker Testing and Curing of Inflammation

Published Date : Jul 10, 2018

A team of researchers from the University of Hong Kong, in collaboration from other scientists, have invented an innovative organic sensor of size less than a micrometer. The C-reactive protein sensor developed by the researchers has been integrated in a medical catheter for direct and quick sensing of CRP in patients.

Owing to the immensely thin nature of the sensor, it can be used in a number of applications to collect data and sample in a much quicker manner as compared to inorganic sensors, from hours with conventional options to nearly 10 minutes or even less. The sensor can also operate well under stretching or bending owing to a better capability to bend. This can make the diagnosis and treatment of conditions involving symptoms such as inflammation nearly 30 times faster. Moreover, the possibility of gaining real-time signals can allow doctors to undertake immediate actions for early treatment.

The electronic device developed by the research team, as a concept demonstration product, has been modeled to measure biological data in real time. The mechanically flexible device has demonstrated sensing of the blood’s CRP level accurately to 1ug/mL. CRP level in blood is a crucial indicator of the inflammation level in patients. The level of inflammation is presently analyzed on the basis of blood tests, which does not provide a proper real-time data related to the state of inflammation in the patients.

So as to be able to gain a continuous overview of the level of some biomarker or protein in the body, regular blood tests after a specific period of time are performed. Despite this, it still takes a new hours before a test is completed. Moreover, there is no way of providing any real-time information using this method. The new method, however, can provide real time data regarding the way the inflammation is developing over a certain period of time, that too with a very small volume of the sample.

Based on the concept, the research can be applied to a vast set of applications such as bacteria sensors and neurotransmitters. Moreover, the ultra-flexible and ultra-thin sensor device developed by the researchers is also compatible with conventional sterilization methods adapted at hospitals.