Chinese researchers have developed an ultra-flexible sensor integrated onto a medical catheter for direct protein sensing in the blood.
A study published in the latest issue of Advanced Science reported an organic sensor with a total thickness less than one fiftieth of human hair and it could significantly save the time for sample and data collection, from currently a few hours to 10 minutes or less.
According to the study, the testing of inflammation via C-reactive protein (CRP) can be speeded up by 30 times and the real-time signal read-out has a great potential in allowing the doctors to take necessary immediate actions.
CRP level in the blood is an important indicator reflecting the level of the inflammation of patients. It is currently tested by blood analysis which cannot provide real-time information of the patients.
This device developed by a University of Hong Kong (HKU) team can sense the CRP level down to 1ug/mL, and hence more sufficient to deviate the health condition of the patients.
Also, researchers have developed a "capsule-like" encapsulation layer which allows the device to withstand high pressure, temperature and moisture environment.
By using a capsule with only 250 nm, this device can withstand boiling water or hot steam for more than 30 minutes without showing performance degradation, thus compatible with the standard sterilization processes adapted in the hospitals.
The team will further enhance the sensing power of the devices by integrating neurotransmitter and pressure sensors onto the catheter.
They plan to measure other bio-markers especially the neurotransmitters or other information from the cerebrospinal fluid which can provide valuable real time information of the patients suffering from head injury or strokes. Enditem