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Lab-on-a-Patch Enables Continuous and Real-Time Monitoring of Multiple Disease Biomarkers

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 08 Jun 2023
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Image: A breakthrough technology combines multiple DNA sensors with microneedles (Photo courtesy of Nutromics)
Image: A breakthrough technology combines multiple DNA sensors with microneedles (Photo courtesy of Nutromics)

Advancements in continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) have significantly improved the management of diabetes, however, they come with a major shortcoming: CGMs are incapable of measuring any diagnostic target other than glucose. Now, DNA-based sensing has emerged as a breakthrough technology that overcomes this limitation with its ability to enable continuous and real-time measurements of any diagnostic target.

Nutromics’ (Melbourne, Australia) is developing a "lab-in-a-patch" that harnesses DNA sensor technology to track various targets such as disease biomarkers and difficult-to-administer drugs within the human body. Currently undergoing in-human trial testing, Nutromics' DNA-based sensor platform is poised to bring about a significant shift in diagnostic methods. By integrating multiple DNA-based sensors with minimally invasive microneedles, the platform allows for continual and real-time tracking of various vital targets. With its aptamer platform, Nutromics stands to improve the prognosis for millions of patients in clinically critical conditions. By offering medical practitioners the ability to continuously monitor a wide array of analytes that presently cannot be analyzed in real-time, Nutromics’ "lab-in-a-patch could become a game changer in various clinical situations.

The initial product to come out from Nutromics’ stable is a wearable device equipped with a vancomycin sensor. Vancomycin, a potent antibiotic used for treating severe infections like sepsis, presents a dosage challenge due to its narrow therapeutic window, high toxicity, and limited patient blood level data available to doctors. DNA-based sensors can overcome these hurdles by providing continuous, real-time information on vancomycin concentration levels, enabling doctors to calibrate the antibiotic dosage to maintain the therapeutic range and avoid toxicity. Additionally, DNA-based sensors can significantly influence heart attack diagnosis. Troponin, a protein that markedly increases in the bloodstream upon heart muscle damage (like during a heart attack), can be continuously monitored to provide early trend data. This could drastically reduce heart attack diagnosis time to mere minutes, ultimately saving lives. Nutromics envisions a future where DNA-based biosensors extend beyond acute hospital settings to point-of-care, general lab testing, and even consumer use for the prevention of disease among healthy individuals.

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