Scientists Developed Hydrogel Implant to Monitor Tissue Oxygen

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Scientists developed a phosphorescent hydrogel implant that can monitor tissue oxygen, according to a report published on March 26, 2018.

This jelly implant will be useful to people with blocked blood vessels or to athletes for designing better training programs. This wearable device has survived for over four years when it was implanted on the foot of the researchers who developed it. By spending five years working with biosensors, Natalie Wisniewski, a graduate student observed that when the coating on the sensors fails, the implanted sensor is mostly rejected by the body. The newly developed oxygen sensor does not have any such problems, as they are made out of poly (2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate), a hydrogel used in contact lenses, the 5mm-long device can stay in the body for years.

This oxygen sensor does not have any source of power or electronics. However, by placing a small optical reader on the skin, the tissue oxygen levels can be measured. Infrared light is sent out from the optical reader and that light is absorbed and re-emitted by the phosphorescent porphyrin dyes in the hydrogel. When the concentration of oxygen is very high, phosphorescence of the dye becomes weaker. This sensor has already been tested in clinic and doctors were able to treat arterial blockages. Wisniewski said, “By injecting a network of the sensors, we can monitor oxygen while the patient is on the surgical table, to give real-time feedback to see if, for example, placing stents is having the desired effect.”

This sensor is made useful to healthy people by giving them information on how their body reacts to food and exercise. Researchers are further working on dyes that can react to other body chemicals like carbon dioxide or glucose, which will then be a huge breakthrough in the field of diabetes. This development will increase growth of medical sensors market, as elaborated in the medical sensors market report published by Coherent Market Insights.

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