Researchers in France have created a tiny medical device, designed to be implanted beneath the skin, that uses enzymes to analyse the quality of a patient’s blood. The result is a micro-laboratory inside the body that can help doctors diagnose disease and possibly treat cancer more effectively. “The device was developed by a team led by EPFL scientists Giovanni de Micheli and Sandro Carrara. The implant is only a few cubic millimeters in volume but includes five sensors, a radio transmitter and a power delivery system.” Results gathered by the device can be transmitted to doctors over cellular networks.
What’s the Big Idea?
In making the device, scientists have taken advantage of the fact that the human body is a veritable chemical factory, producing thousands of reactive substances which can be used to indicate patients’ health status. “[The new chip] will allow a much more personalized level of care than traditional blood tests can provide. Health care providers will be better able to monitor patients, particularly those with chronic illness or those undergoing chemotherapy. The prototype, still in the experimental stages, has demonstrated that it can reliably detect several commonly traced substances.”