Glucose Sensing Catheters
An estimated 24 million individuals suffer from diabetes in the United States. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States and leads to life-threatening complications such as blindness, nerve disease and kidney disease. Current diabetes treatment is based on the detection of blood glucose levels several times a day followed by injection of insulin to adjust the concentration of glucose in blood. The treatment of diabetes would be facilitated by closed-loop systems that can monitor glucose levels and deliver insulin on a need-basis. Glucose sensors in use today,in vitroandin vivo, still cannot reliably and accurately differentiate low, normal glucose levels from hypoglycemia on a continuous basis or over long periods of time.
To address this problem, we are genetically engineering fluorescent Glucose Recognition Polypeptides (GRPs) capable of emitting a fluorescent signal that can be correlated to the presence of a given concentration of glucose. These GRPs are highly selective for glucose over other sugars and can detect glucose both in the hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic range. We have partnered with iGlyko,Inc., a medical device company whose aim is to develop glucose sensors for accurate and reliableinvivocontinuous monitoring of glucose, to fabricate an intravenous catheter for long-term, continuous monitoring of glucose.
Potassium Catheter Sensors
Potassium (K+) plays a critical role in many physiological processes and can be a valuable marker for a variety of applications, including postoperative monitoring, the signaling of ischemia, and renal failure. However, there is no commercially available sensor that can monitorin vivothe variations of potassium ion concentrations in real time. In our laboratory, we are developing such sensors by deposition of a fluorescent optode membrane on the tip of a custom-made fiber optic system. This has lead to the development of a sensor suitable for integration into a catheter-based system making possible thein vivodetection of K+ ions in a variety of clinical settings.We are developing a simple small portable device by using a miniature fiber optic spectrometer, small light source, and a laptop computer. The small size of the system makes its use possible even in tight spaces and crowded areas, such as point of care, emergency room, and other situations requiring immediate monitoring and detection.
Individualized Medicine: Responsive Drug Delivery Systems
Our team is addressing the need for individualized medicine through the development of a novel responsive therapy platform. This platform integrates multiple nanovials loaded with drug, which are also equipped with tiny valves and sensors that regulate the drug delivery. This platform integrated with miniature batteries is a self-contained device, which will be sensitive to changes in the patient's physiology and release drug into the body only and exactly as needed. Such control of drug therapy that is continuously responsive to each individual patient's need is widely sought in the biomedical industry and will address this need in a unique and significant way.