If you have ever wondered for an easier, less painful way to draw blood, whether to check kidney function, cholesterol, hormone levels, blood sugar, or as part of general check-up, there might be one now.
A team of researchers at Cherng Department of Medical Engineering, Caltech have introduced a new wearable sensor that can find in human sweat, even very small concentration of common nutrients and biological substances that can serve as pointer of human health.
Meanwhile, the sensor technology developed in the lab of an assistant professor focused on wearable sensors with medical applications, and the latest work represents the most accurate and responsive iteration yet.
“Wearable sweat sensors have been developed earlier,” stated the researcher. There were so many biomarkers that needed to be detected, but were not in the past.
In fact, the previous version of sweat sensors depended on enzymes embedded within them to find a limited number of significant compounds. Whilst antibodies could be used in sensors to find more compounds in low concentrations, the technique had a major drawback: antibodies in sensor can only be used once, implying the sensor will wear down.
Importantly, the new sensor technology comprises molecularly imprinted polymers, which are lookalike of artificial, reusable antibodies. A hypothetical object shaped like a plus sign can be imagined to understand the working of reusable antibodies. If silicone rubber is poured over the top of the object, letting the rubber to harden, and then pulling the molecule out of the rubber, leaves with a chunk of rubber with a plus-shaped hollow in it. Objects that have the same size and shape will properly fit into the hollow.