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A Chip Placed ­nder the Skin For More Precise Medicine

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The new subcutaneous biosensor chip.

The new biosensor chip, when inserted under the skin, can monitor the concentration of a number of molecules and certain drugs in the body.

Credit: Alain Herzog/EPFL

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) researchers have developed a new biosensor chip that can simultaneously monitor the concentration of a number of molecules and certain drugs.

The new chip is placed under the skin and is powered by a patch worn on the skin's surface, and it communicates with the user's smartphone to measure pH, temperature, metabolism-related molecules, and drugs. The chip has a group of electrochemical sensors that work with or without enzymes, which means it can react to a wide range of compounds for up to weeks at a time. The device contains a circuit with six sensors, a control unit that analyzes incoming signals, and a radio transmission module. In addition, it has an induction coil that draws power from an external battery attached to the skin by a patch.

The researchers tested the chip on mice and were able to constantly monitor glucose and paracetamol levels without a wire tracker inhibiting the animals' daily activities.

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

From Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
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