Health-monitoring Implants Developed
Profusa Inc. developed tiny biosensors to be injected under the skin, to provide users with health information via their smartphone, as announced by the company on March 20, 2018.
The development has been approved for use in Europe and is further awaiting U.S. approval. Each sensor measures smaller than a grain of rice, with a scaffold-like structure. The sensors are made up of a polymer-based hydrogel, which is widely used in soft contact lenses. The polymer is festooned with dye molecules.
The immune system does not recognize these sensors as foreign objects due to their small size and high flexibility. Owing to this, these sensors do not get covered in inflammatory cells or scar tissue, which could isolate them and prevent detection of chemical changes. The scaffolding of the sensors allows for cells and capillaries to grow, ultimately incorporating them into the surrounding tissue.
The sensors remain active in the body for a number of months or even years. Users can read the results through a handheld detector or an adhesive electronic patch, which shines near-infrared light through the skin. The dye molecules further turn fluorescent. The degree to which they fluoresce is determined by relative concentrations of certain biochemicals within the body.
This development could also be used to monitor oxygen levels around muscles to assess peoples’ fitness levels, and to help athletes train more effectively.
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